On a January morning in 1906, two hundred workmen from Western Pacific Railway and thirty armed "company soldiers" landed on the north training wall and began laying track. Although the City of Oakland had invited this action, it was considered a brazen challenge to the Southern Pacific's long standing monopoly of the waterfront. Southern Pacific promptly sued, claiming ownership of all land along the waterfront. In 1907, the court ruled against Southern Pacific in its suit. The result: Oakland regained control of most of its waterfront.
"The advent of the Western Pacific Railway is epochal... for the system's coming made it possible for Oakland to recover control and possession of its magnificent waterfront." - Oakland Mayor Frank K. Mort, 1910.
Sidebar, on left
This is the site of the Western Pacific Mole, which opened in 1910 and extended nearly two-miles out from Oakland's natural shoreline. The term "mole" refers to an earth or stone-filled breakwater, such as a ferry anchorage, that juts out into deep water. Ferries were crucial to Bay Area transportation until bridges were built in the 1930s. People rode ferries from this location until 1933, when passenger operations were transferred to the Southern Pacific Mole on the north side of Middle Harbor. The passenger terminal was demolished in 1940.