Chapter 7

THE SAN FRANCISCO TERMINAL RAILROAD AND FERRY COMPANY

The fact that Oakland, California was to have another railroad, which had already been alluded to in various newspaper columns was convincingly demonstrated on August 14, 1902 by the incorporation of a company for the purpose of carrying out the project, the San Francisco Terminal Railway and Ferry Company. The articles of incorporation were filed in San Francisco.

The incorporators, all of whom were elected directors of the new company, were J. Dalzell Brown, vice-president of the California Sate Deposit and Trust Company; A. C. Kains, assistant manager of the Canadian Bank of Commerce; F. M. West, president of the Stockton Savings and Loan Society; Tirey L. Ford, Attorney-General of California; Walter J. Bartnett of the law firm of Booth & Bartnett, and John Treadwell of this city. Henry F. Fortmann, president of the Alaska Packers' Association, was also a director, although his temporary absence from San Francisco caused the omission of his name from the list of incorporators.

John Treadwell and F. M. West were interested largely in the Tesla coal road, known as the Alameda and San Joaquin Railroad, which was to be the eastern connection in Alameda County with the new line.

The enterprise was to be backed by capital to the amount of $6,000,000 and of this amount $2,000,000 had already been subscribed. Walter J. Bartnett on behalf of the Eastern capitalists, with whom he had been in frequent conference during the past twelve months, having subscribed $194,000 and the other six incorporators $1,000 each. Of the amount already subscribed, 10 per cent, or $20,000, has been deposited with J. Dalzell Brown, the treasurer of the company. There were 60,000 shares of $100 each.

The purpose of the company was to connect the San Joaquin and the Santa Clara valleys with San Francisco by new lines of railroad, the work being inaugurated by a number of leading eastern railway magnates, and the road to be built mainly with eastern capital. Mr. Bartnett, an attorney, was the man being credited with having promoted the deal. He declined to say who the eastern capitalists were, or whether it was intended to establish a new transcontinental road.

The new system was to have five branches. The first would begin at San Francisco, going thence by ferry to Oakland, from Oakland to Livermore, and joining the Alameda and San Joaquin Railroad Company’s road near the boundary line between Alameda and San Joaquin counties, a total of sixty miles. The second branch would be from Haywards to San Jose, thirty-five miles; the third, from Alameda to San Leandro, ten miles; the fourth, from Oakland to Berkeley, ten miles; and the fifth from Haywards to Dumbarton point, on San Francisco Bay, thus securing an outlet on tidewater. The aggregate length of the road was estimated to be about 145 miles.

"We have acquired a terminus at the foot of Third Street on the Oakland channel," said Mr. Bartnett, "and have property extending a mile toward East Oakland. We have acquired a right of way through Haywards Pass, and have bought the Alameda and San Joaquin Railroad, which gives us an entrance into Stockton. We propose to operate a ferry system between Oakland and San Francisco and to run branch lines to Alameda, Berkeley and from Haywards to Dumbarton Point on the eastern side of the bay. We will also run a line to San Jose, but just how we are to operate that line I must decline to say. It is well known that the only deep water south of the Oakland channel on the east side of the bay is Dumbarton Point, which we have acquired."

Dumbarton Point was owned by the Dumbarton Land Company, of which Thomas E. Ryan, an attorney, was a director and general manager. Mr. Ryan said that he had never heard of the new company and that there had as yet been no offer made for the property at Dumbarton Point. The only right of way for a railroad into San Jose on the east side of the bay was owned by Piper-Adin-Goodall Company. General Manager A. E. Pryor of that company said that there were no negotiations pending for the purchase of the company’s rights.

In Oakland the road would run along Third Street, sufficient abutting property having been purchased along that street to secure a franchise. In East Oakland, the line was to pass mainly over private property, which had also been acquired. All necessary property had been secured in Oakland and a large amount had also been purchased in Haywards Pass, where a force of surveyors was already at work locating the line.

The ferry system of the new road between Oakland and San Francisco, would engage in competition with that of the Southern Pacific, and that of the Oakland Transit Consolidated, which was soon to be inaugurated. In this ferry system new and fast ferry steamers would be run and it was proposed to have them make more speedy trips than were being made by the existing line.

The company was ready to commence work and would begin operations just as soon as a franchise could be obtained in Oakland. The headquarters would be in San Francisco and the period of incorporation was fixed at fifty years.

In a prospectus sent out to the newspapers it was stated that eastern capital was behind the movement, and the warning given that no questions would be answered as to the identification of those eastern investors. It was strongly asserted in Oakland that the San Francisco incorporators were representatives of the Gould and Clark railroad syndicate, and that the new road was purely an outlet for another transcontinental line to connect at Stockton eventually with the Clark road out of Salt Lake City, then well under way.

August 26, 1902 brought news that United States Senator W. A. Clark, the Montana copper king and railroad magnate, had just completed a quiet tour of inspection of the Tesla coal mines and the line of the San Francisco and San Joaquin Railroad Company from Stockton to the mines in the northeastern corner of Alameda County. A few days prior Senator Clark in his private car had been taken over the road and into Tesla, where he spent some time in an examination of the surrounding country. The news filtered into Oakland and caused a stir, because the Senator was credited with being behind the recently incorporated San Francisco Terminal Railway and Ferry Company, which had bought a large amount of real estate in Oakland preparatory to a move for a railroad franchise through the city to the harbor front at the foot of Union Street. This new road, the plans for which had all the earmarks of a terminal for a transcontinental system, would unite with the Tesla road at its western terminus at the coal mines. Thence the route to Oakland went through the Livermore Valley on through Haywards Pass, north of San Leandro, thence into East Oakland and along Third Street to the Hays Tract, which bordered the harbor shore at Union Street.

Ever since the agents commenced to quietly get hold of the property along Third Street there had been a persistent rumor that a new railroad was coming. But the rumors were not verified until the company filed its articles of incorporation in San Francisco, which outlined the projected route. It had been strongly insisted that this road was nothing more than an outlet for a transcontinental route to be controlled by the Gould and Clark interests. The activity which Senator Clark had been showing in railroad enterprises evidently heading toward the Pacific Coast was taken as strong confirmation of the reports.

The news that the Montana legislator had personally inspected the Tesla properties came to the minds of many as further confirmation in the belief that it was none other than the Gould and Clark combination which had been trying to find an outlet at deep water in Oakland.

Owing to the fact that the franchise ordinance that was to accompany an application for a franchise by the San Francisco Terminal Railway contained some matters requiring further legal inquiry, on September 2, 1902 the attorneys for the railroad did not present the application to the City Council. It was to be revised and presented at a later meeting.

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