The Creation of Treasure Island

March 31, 2015 | By | Reply More

ti_history_beforeTreasure Island is a man-made island in the San Francisco Bay, built from 1936–37 for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition.

Prior to the island’s construction by the United States federal government, “Yerba Buena Shoals” of rock north of the transbay island had less than 27 ft (8.2 m) clearance and were a shipping hazard.

Engineers first dumped thousands of tons of rock into the bay, enclosing the shoals with a wall thirteen feet above sea level. Into the enclosure – a mile long and two thirds of a mile wide – they poured twenty million cubic yards of mud from the adjacent bay bottom to create the new island and connected it with a ramp roadway to Yerba Buena and the bridge.

treasure-island-being-builtThen they had to “unsalt” the mud – drain the bay water out so that the soul would support vegetation. They drilled two hundred wells on the soggy island and pumped them dry. Rains washed out more salt. And as a final precaution eighty thousand cubic yards of rich peat topsoil were barged in from the islands of the delta and spread across the surface for garden areas.

Meanwhile San Francisco was planning to tell the world about its forthcoming big show.

With a world’s fair scheduled in New York for the same year (it has never been satisfactorily determined which fair was scheduled first) San Francisco would have to beat the drums loudly in bidding for visitors.

The new island would need a name.

One publicity man had an inspiration: the island was made from the bay bottom carpeted with silt which had been washed frown from the river, much of it during the gild era, the soil of the island must surely contain particles of gold from the Mother Lode!

“Gold Island” didn’t sound right. But “Treasure Island” was a natural.

Appropriately costumed “miners” were photographed panning “gold” from the soil of Treasure Island.


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Category: Fog City - City of Fog, History

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