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Brief History of Treasure Island, San Francisco

Posted by GrayLineofSanFrancisco on November 2, 2020

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Arguably, the best views of the San Francisco skyline come from Treasure Island. Travelers looking for an amazing photo opportunity need to make their way to the manmade 404-acre island that is connected to Yerba Buena Island. (Muni bus #25 from S.F. to Treasure Island). In 1936-37 the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers built the island next to Yerba Buena Island. Speculation and urban myth told tales that millions of dollars of gold dust had been dredged up from the bay to create the island led to the name Treasure Island.

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With both bridges completed by the late 1930’s the San Francisco decided to invite the world. San Francisco held its third world’s fair in less than fifty years. The site chosen for the Golden Gate International Exposition, was the Yerba Buena Shoals.

The accessibility was easy from all parts of the bay, which gave it an added value since it was projected to be the site of the new San Francisco airport once the fair was completed. Financed by WPA (Works Progress Administration) over 300,000 tons of boulders were used to make a seawall around roughly one-square-mile area, and the resulting lagoon was filled in.

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Thankfully, the vision of San Francisco having an airport in the middle of the bay never came to fruition. Imagining the traffic is enough to get my blood boiling. With the war looming in the early forties the U.S. Navy hijacked the island for strategic purposes and the island was traded for Mills Field, south of San Francisco on the peninsula where SFO is located today.

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San Francisco International Airport.

Treasure Island served as a naval base until 1996. Now repurposed for residential and retail opportunities. The Treasure Island Museum, and plenty of other things to do on the island, live concerts, art shows, flea markets, food truck extravaganzas, wine tasting, classes at the sailing school.  If you have time, I suggest making your way over the Bay Bridge for some inventive and hidden activity gems. You can also visit one of the best restaurants in Bay Area which is Mersea Restaurant to have a drink while enjoying the stunning views of the city from Treasure Island.

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Views from Mersea Restaurant.

Check their website here.

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