Thursday, June 30, 2011
Located on Alameda Naval Air Station. California Historical Site plaque number 440 is found by the flag pole across the street from Town Hall West on W. Mall Square.
The original terminus of the First Transcontinental Railroad was located in what became Alameda Naval Air base. Following the passing of the Pacific Railroad Act in 1862 the line was constructed by the Central Pacific Railroad to connect their network of rails with the Union Pacific rail company in the eastern part of the United States. Rail lines already existed in Alameda, but they took on an increased importance with the passing of the Pacific Railroad Act. The San Francisco and Alameda Railroad already ran down Lincoln and out to the west end of the island, but it was purchased by the Central Pacific Railroad in 1869, who then used Alameda Terminal on the west end of the island as the first terminus of the Transcontinental Railroad. On September 6th, 1869, the first Central Pacific train reached the San Francisco Bay.
Following the leasing of the Central Pacific by the Southern Pacific railway in 1885, the terminus for the transcontinental railroad was moved to the Oakland Long Wharf, a ferry and railway pier that stretched far out into the waters of the bay and is no longer in existence. The Alameda Terminal remained an important stop for freight and passengers on the Southern Pacific line.
The Alameda terminal is just one of many different hats that this end of Alameda has worn over the last 150 years. The west end of the island, what would become the Naval Air Station, was primarily marshlands and mudflats prior to the arrival of the railway. The construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad, and the accompanying increase in rail traffic in Alameda, saw large-scale reclamation projects filling in portions of the bay, including the construction of Alameda Mole, another large ferry and rail pier that stretched far past the mudflats near the shore. Alameda Mole would remain an important freight distribution center through the 1930s when the land at the west end of Alameda would be transformed into the Naval Air Station by reclaiming land from the San Francisco Bay.
Getting There By Bike...
The Alameda Terminal memorial is located in the same plaza as the plaque for the China Clipper, by the flagpole in the center of W. Mall Square in the Alameda Naval Air Station. If you enter the base through the north gates, off of Main St., you'll ride right into the top end of the Mall lawn. Follow the big field of grass to the far end and look for the flagpole. The USS Hornet is an easy five minute bike ride from here if you have the time, as is the Croll Building.