Yerba Buena Island

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Yerba Buena Island sits in the San Francisco Bay between San Francisco and Oakland, California. The Yerba Buena Tunnel runs through its center and connects the western and eastern spans of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. It has had several other names over the decades: Sea Bird Island, Wood Island, and Goat Island. The island is named after the town of Yerba Buena, which was named for the plant of the same name that was abundant in the area. The plant's English and Spanish common name, Yerba buena, is an alternate form of the Spanish hierba buena (literally meaning "good herb"), generally used to describe local species of the mint family.

The island is currently part of District 6 of the City and County of San Francisco. According to the United States Census Bureau, Yerba Buena Island and Treasure Island together have a land area of 2.334 km2 (0.901 sq mi) with a total population of 1,453 as of the 2000 census.

Contents

History

The first California legislature on February 18, 1850, passed an act establishing the boundaries of San Francisco County and naming the island after the former name of the city of San Francisco, Yerba Buena, which was changed in 1847.

Officially, the island was Yerba Buena Island until 1895, when on a decision by the United States Board on Geographic Names, it was changed to Goat Island. It was changed back to Yerba Buena Island on June 3, 1931.

The idea of a military post on Yerba Buena Island originated during the Civil War, when it was feared a raiding Confederate warship could slip past Fort Point and Alcatraz during a foggy night. However, it was not until the 1870s that Camp Yerba Buena Island was completed, including a fog signal and octagonal lighthouse (1875) that remain today. Just before the turn of the 20th century, the first U.S. Naval Training Station on the Pacific Coast was established on the north east side of the island. Quarters One, also known as the Nimitz House, was built about 1900 as the commandant's residence. Its Classic Revival style, fashionable for private residences in the Bay Area at the time, was unusual for naval base housing. The training station closed after World War I.

During World War II, Yerba Buena Island fell under the jurisdiction of Treasure Island Naval Station, headquarters of the 12th Naval District. Built on the shoals of Yerba Buena Island, the 403-acre (163 ha) Treasure Island was a Works Progress Administration project in the 1930s. After hosting the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition, the United States Navy deemed Treasure Island an ideal location for transporting people and machines to the Pacific theater, and on April 1, 1941, established Treasure Island Naval Station which also included a portion of Yerba Buena Island. Quarters One became the residence of the Commander of the Naval Base. Several other buildings used by the Naval Station during World War II also remain on the island, including the senior officers' quarters and Buildings 83, 205 and 230.

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