Moore Dry Dock Company
photo from Oakland History Center 2

The Moore Dry Dock Company was a ship repair and shipbuilding company at the foot of Adeline Street in West Oakland. It began in 1905 in San Francisco as the Moore & Scott Iron Works. It was destroyed by fire following the 1906 earthquake, but they rebuilt quickly. In 1909 they purchased the Boole Shipyard in Oakland and moved operations there. Around 1917 the Moores bought out the Scotts and it became the Moore Shipbuilding Company; it became The Moore Dry Dock Company in 1922.

The shipyard grew rapidly during WWI; after the war they also produced structural steel. The shipyard built two ferryboats for the Key System, the Peralta and the Yerba Buena. Construction projects included a hangar at Oakland Airport (1928), the Park Street Bridge (1934–35) and the High Street Bridge (1938–39), as well as caissons for the Bay Bridge. They even provided steel for the construction of the Paramount Theatre, including the huge steel beam that supports the balcony. 3 During WWII they grew rapidly again, and were famous for handling difficult repair and conversion jobs. At its peak in 1943, the company employed 37,000 workers. 1

The company was notable for hiring African Americans at a time when discrimination was rampant. They still faced discrimination, being directed into less skilled and lower-paying jobs, and unions forced them to create local auxiliaries instead joining the regular local. 4

Local baseball legend Ernie Raimondi worked for the Moore Dry Dock Company after his professional baseball career, and played on the company baseball team in the Bushrod League.

Moore Dry Dock launched its last ocean-going ship in 1945. The company ceased operations in 1961 and was sold to Flug and Strassler, which was subsequently sold to Schnitzer Steel, a metal recycling business.

To learn more about the Moore Dry Dock and its part in “The Great Migration, listen to East Bay Yesterday's podcast episode, Long Lost Oakland, chapter 2. It includes an interview with Ron Moore, son of one of the co-owners. “When the shipyard closed, my dad came home and cried. 5

Pacific Marine Review, January 1921


Moore Shipbuilding Company, c.1917
photo from Oakland History Room

The caption on the above photo reads: "Moore Shipbuilding Company, Oakland Inner Harbor. Enlargements announced by this plant in connection with building contracts will make it one of the biggest in the United States. Has contracts for the Government for sixteen 9400 ton steel freight steamers, at a total cost of twenty-five millions. Has purchased adjoining land, increasing area of site from 14 to 44 acres. Will spend $1,500,000 in permanent improvements. At present employs 2500 men. Will employ 5000 to 600 [typo?] by early in 1918."

Moore Dry Dock Company, 1939
photo from Library of Congress

The caption on the above photo reads "U.S. Lighthouse Tender Fir (Dimensions Length O.A. 174' 10 1/2". Beam 32' 0") Under Construction for the United States Lighthouse Service by the Moore Dry Dock Company, Oakland, Calif. June 1, 1939."

actor, singer, athlete, civil rights activist Paul Robeson singing the National Anthem with workers at Moore Dry Dock, 1942
photo from National Archives

ad from

triple launching, 1914-1918 6

Links and References

  1. Moore Dry Dock on Waterfront Action
  2. Moore Dry Dock Becomes Schnitzer Steel on Waterfront Action
  3. Oakland, the Manufacturing City of the West on Today in Montclair, 94611
  4. "Jim Crow" Shipyards: Black Labor and Race Relations in East Bay Shipyards During WWII by Cuahutémoc Arroyo
  5. Long Lost Oakland, chapter 2 East Bay Yesterday podcast
  6. BANC PIC 1996.003:Volume 27:80b--fALB UC Berkeley Bancroft Library