Oakland Water-Front


Developing Oakland’s waterfront in the early 20th century.

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This mysterious map of Oakland’s harbor district along San Francisco Bay gives little indication as to its original author, publisher, or date of issuance. I’ve been unable to find other examples in WorldCat, Rumsey, or other online repositories and sparse detail is given apart from street names and information on waterfront developments. Fortunately, much can be gained from the latter, as the area was undergoing a period of tremendous change in the early 20th century.

After eliminating the monopoly granted to the Southern Pacific Railroad on waterfront access, the city of Oakland made significant efforts to improve transportation and freight options. The San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose Railway began operation in 1903, delivering passengers to the Key Route ferry terminal in the lower left. The Western Pacific Railway was also organized that same year in an effort to break the Southern Pacific’s stranglehold on northern California rail traffic. Proposed pier and terminal construction (the depot would be completed in 1910) are outlined near the bottom of the page.

Wharves, ferry slips, and railroad extensions are also boldly proposed across the image. A dotted line indicating the line of low water in 1852 juxtaposed with the ‘area to be filled if allowed’ highlights just how much the shoreline had expanded in the preceding half-century.

The map was acquired as part of a pair – the other sheet includes information that dates to 1907, which helps narrow the date of printing to that year or shortly thereafter.

Sources: Online Archive of California, Oakland Wiki – Key System

Map Details

Publication Date: c. 1908

Author: Anonymous

Sheet Width (in): 29.3

Sheet Height (in): 15.8

Condition: B+

Condition Description: Printed on a thin sheet that's slightly toned and creased along former fold lines, with more moderate discoloration in several areas along the horizontal seam. Small spots of separation at fold intersections and a bit of extraneous wrinkling in the corners. One small dot-sized stain in the lower left-center.


1 in stock