This year marks two milestone birthday’s for California’s ports, the Port of Oakland and the Port of Redwood City.
February 12th was named the Port of Oakland Day in the host city as declared by Mayor Libby Schaaf who said the honor would commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Port’s creation on February 12, 1927.
Chris Lytle, Executive Director of the Port, authored a letter to industry leaders and government officials highlighting the remarkable achievements attained by the Port.
“We pioneered Transpacific air travel and we brought container shipping to the West Coast,” he said. “And we’re far from done – we’re transforming to upgrade our status as a global gateway.” Executive Director Lytle went on to provide details of noteworthy historic events which took place at the Port, including providing services to U.S. troops in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam; hosting the legendary aviator Amelia Earhart; and most recently the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin, the largest container vessel to ever call to a U.S. port.
The Port of Redwood City is having it’s 80th birthday in 2017. In 1851 it was discovered that a creek running through the Peninsula emptied directly into a naturally deep channel of water that, in turn, flowed into San Francisco Bay. Logging companies quickly made use of this valuable natural resource as a water highway, easily and economically moving huge redwood logs down from the hills and into the channel. Once positioned in the channel, the logs were stacked on barges or lashed together for the final journey to San Francisco, where they were ultimately milled into lumber.
The “discovery” of Redwood Creek spurred a shipbuilding industry. The first schooner was built in 1851 by G.M. Burnham and appropriately named “Redwood.” Shipbuilding remained an active industry until the last wooden ship built in Redwood City, called the “Perseverance,” was launched in 1883. The Port of Redwood City is considered the birthplace of the shipbuilding industry on the Pacific West.