Page 7 - Historical Study of Yerba Buena Island, Treasure Island and Their Buildings
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Preface


                The Defense Base Realignment and Closure Act of 1990 (BRAC) requires a" . .. timely closure and
                realignment  of military  installations."  One  action  of the  1993  BRAC  Commission  placed  Naval
                 Station  Treasure  Island  (NA VST A TI)  on  the  list  of closing  military  facilities  and,  in  so  doing,
                established a closure date of September 30,  1997 for the Naval Station.  As the "draw-down" of the
                facility  began,  NA VST A TI  Environmental  Office  realized  that  key  personnel  could  take  vital
                historical information with them as they were transferred or retired.  Therefore, this historical study
                was commissioned to record historical data, while there was still time to access personnel and records.
                This historical study is  divided  into two chapters.  Chapter  1 is the History of Y erba Buena and its
                 buildings Pre-183 5 to the present.  Chapter 2 is the History of 'Freasure Island and its buildings from
                 1936 to 1995.

                The history of these two islands is quite unique.  Yerba Buena Island is a natural island occupied by
                Native Americans for hundreds of years before the arrival of the Europeans:  Treasure Island, a "man-
                                                                                     th
                 made" island, is a tribute to man's ingenuity and the engineering strides of the 20 Century.
                 Yerba Buena Island, discovered by the Spanish, was known over the years by a variety of names, such
                as "Isla de Alcatraces, "Yerba Buena Island", and "Goat Island", to name a few.  After the Spanish,
                other European settlers came and claimed the island for themselves.  In 1848, when California became
                the property of the United States, the United States (US) government solved the problem of ownership
                 by claiming all coastal islands.  This set the stage for the US military to establish control of the island
                that spanned the next one hundred and eleven years.  The US  Army established a post in  1866 and
                 remained the  primary tenant  until -1898.  In  1875,  the  Department  of Treasury  (DOT)  installed  a
                 lighthouse on the Island.  It was operated by the Lighthouse Service until  1939, when it was turned
                 over to the US  Coast Guard via intra-departmental transfer of function..  The US  Navy became the
                 Island's primary tenant in 1898, when it established a Recruit Training Station.  Today, ninety-seven
                 years later, the US Navy continues in that role.  The US Army remained as co-tenant until 1959.  The
                 US Coast Guard will continue to  operate at Yerba Buena Island after the US Navy closes the Naval
                 Station in 1997.

                 Treasure  Island  was  created  to  celebrate  the  completion  of the  great  engineering  marvels  of the
                 Golden Gate Bridge and  San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge,  and to  provide San Fransisco with an
                 airport site.  The construction of Treasure Island commenced on February 11, 1936.  The Army Corps
                 of Engineers completed the construction, under budget by $4, l 00, eighteen and one-half months later
                 on August 24, 1937.  On February 18, 1939, the Golden Gate International Exposition opened for two
                 years of celebration.  It closed on September 29, 1940.  Because of the beginning of World War II in
                 Europe in 1939, the US Navy was granted a lease for use of the island on February 28, 1941.  In 1943,
                 the Navy, liking the location of the island, offered the City of San Francisco a large parcel of land in
                 San Bruno as an exchange for the Treasure Island property.  The results of the trade netted the City of
                 San Francisco  land  for  its proposed international airport,  while the Navy secured a permanent base
                 within the San Francisco Bay.


                 With the closure of Naval Station Treasure Island, along with Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Naval Air
                 Station  Alameda,  Fleet  Industrial  Supply  Center  Oakland  (ex-Oakland  Naval  Supply  Center),  the
                 Oakland Army Base and the Army Presidio in San Francisco, the long tradition of military presence in
                 the San Francisco  Bay Area is  concluding.  An era of military,  local,  and  state history,  as  well  as
                 National history is also drawing to an end.




                  September 1, I 995           Historical Study ofYerba Buena Island,               P-1
                                                 Treasure Island, and their Buildings
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