(Contributed by Oakland Pioneers - No, 64)
How Oakland Looked in 1872
No. 2 - Continued from Nov. 27th. Extracts from an old Travelers' Guide
"The next slip south (at West Oakland) was built to accommodate the Thoroughfare, a steamer designed expressly for taking freight cars across the bay. She is 260 feet long, with flat bottom and engines of 200 horsepower, constructed at the railroad shops in Sacramento. The south slip is a passenger slip, where lands the regular ferryboat between Oakland and San Francisco. On each side of this slip is a passenger house, where will be found ample accommodations for passengers and for the enormous travel, the advance guard of which has only just commenced to arrive. The company designs to extend this pier to Goat island, directly ahead, as soon as permission is granted by the government. When this is done we may look forward to the early filling in of the portion of the bay between Oakland and the island upon which will be located the future great commercial city of the Pacific Coast.
"The first ship that loaded at this pier was the 'Jennie Eastman' of Bath, England. She commenced loating August 4, 1870, for Liverpool, with wheat brought some from the San Joaquin valley, but the greater portion from the end of the California and Oregon Railroad, 230 miles north of San Francisco.
"When it is understood by the people of the world that the China, Japan. Sandwich Islands and Australia steamships can land at this pier, load and unload from and into the cars of a great Pacific railroad, and those cars can be taken through to and from the Atlantic and Pacific ocean without change: that goods in bond can (as teas and silks are now) be so transported in one-fourth the time heretofore occupied, it will then be realized as the GREAT REVOLUTION of the age.
"To the west three-quarters of a mile, the present objective point of this pier, is Goat island, or Yerba Buena. It is nearly round, 340 feet in altitude, contains 350 acres, belongs to the government but is of little value.
"As we stand at the end of this pier - almost in the middle of San Francisco bay - and think back only 25 years, we are lost in wonder and astonishment. In 1847 500 white settlers could not be found in as many hundred miles, and not one ship a year visited this bay. Here is the extreme western end of the grand system of American railways, which has sprung into existence within the same 25 years. How fast we live! The gentle breeze of today was the whirlwind of 50 years ago. Will we - can we -continue at the same ratio? But why speculate."