OR GOAT ISLAND
EARLY IN 1867, while yet struggling to overcome the Sierras, the Central Pacific Company were planning a more direct route for the railroad and telegraph line from Sacramento to San Francisco Bay than that of the Western Pacific Railroad. They realized the commercial importance of the metropolis of San Francisco and the necessity of having on the harbor a deep water terminal where ships could be loaded direct from the cars, and from where ferry boats could be used to transport entire freight trains as well as passengers to San Francisco.
They had in mind for the terminal an island situated in San Francisco Bay, five or six miles from the city of San Francisco and about two miles from the eastern shore, known as Yerba Buena or Goat Island. This island was a mile in length with an area of about three hundred acres, mostly rocky with some arable land on the east side, the highest point being an elevation of about three hundred feet. A terminal on this island would bring the Central Pacific Railroad a mile nearer the proposed terminal of the Southern Pacific Railroad at Mission Bay than any other location.
At that time the island belonged to the United States and was used as a military reservation with a half company of