lure was lumber. Monumental stands of coastal redwoods--visible far off
in the Pacific Ocean--filled the canyons of the Contra Costa Range.
Loggers rushed to the harvest that began in the last 1940's. To handle
the millions of board feet of lumber being cut in the hills, James Larue
of New Jersey leased the crude Embarcadero de San Antonio for conversion
into a timber depot. By 1854, the former hide-shipping dock of the
Peralta family was the busiest pier on the Pacific Coast.
Much of the lumber shipped from the wharf was sold to William von
Leidesdorff--one of California's pioneer African Americans. Oakland's
first ferry--The Clinton--served Larue's landing. A colorful lumber town
name San Antonio grew up around the wharf--where Sunday afternoon
bullfights attracted a mix of loggers, vaqueros, longshoremen and
suburbanites that author Bret Harte celebrated in an early short story,
The Devotion of Enriquez.
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room
"Walk Along the Water"
© Oakland Museum of California, used with permission.
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