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I want this page to include a series of maps (by decade) showing major transport routes in and around Oakland color coded by type of transit. Anyone want to help? -- bethtop

Getting To and From Oakland


Juan Bautista de Anza led an expedition from Spanish Mexico through Arizona and California to the Bay Area. Luis Maria Peralta was a youngster on the trip.

1840s, 1850s

Some people came via overland routes, but many came via ship, either around Cape Horn, or to Panama and overland to the Pacific where they would catch a different ship up to California.


You could take the Oakland, Haywards, and San Leandro Electric Railway from San Leandro or the Haywards (as Hayward was known in those days)

1930s 1

You could take a train! Southern Pacific had stations at the West end of 16th Street and Broadway at 1st Street. The Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Railway had a station at San Pablo and 40th Street, the Western Pacific Railroad stopped at Washington and 3rd Streets, and the Sacramento Northern deposited passengers at Shafter Ave and 40th Street.

You could take a plane! In 1939, if you were flying United Airlines or Transcontinental and Western Air, Inc., you'd land at the Oakland Municipal Airport (on Bay Farm Island). If you were flying PanAm, you'd land at Alameda Airport.

You could drive! Bay Bridge was up, and ran you 50 cents to drive to SF. A cheaper option was Southern Pacific's car ferry. People could drive themselves to a dock on the west end of 7th street, drive onto the ferry and park on a deck, and drive off in San Fran for 30 cents (50 cents round trip). Passengers on foot were not allowed.

Links and Referenes

  1. The WPA Guide to California. Originally published by Hastings House in 1939. Reprinted in 1984 by Pantheon Books.


Pages tagged “transportation history”