Larue's Wharf  

Image of invoice from James LarueThe 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.

Steven Lavoie
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room

Oakland Museum of California Logo  "Walk Along the Water"
  Oakland Museum of California, used with permission.

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