San Francisco History

China and Central Basins


At the last meeting of the Board of Supervisors, the Clerk was instructed to advertise for proposals for the lease of China and Central Basins, or any portion of them, for a term of five yeras. At this is a matter of great interest, we give a synopsis of their location, their value, and for what purpose they could be utilized.

China Basin is bounded on the east by the water front line, on the northwest by Berry street, and on the south by Kentucky street. The Basin covers an area of 49.56-100 acres. The depth of water at the lowest tide, the sounds being made at the outer line of its boundary, is 24 feet. It then gradually shoals, and along the shore line varies in depth from one to three feet.

The Central Basin occupies an area of 34 5-100 acres. It is bounded on the east by the water front line, on the north by El Dorado street, and on the south by Solano street. The western boundaries of both Basins marked by railroad lands.

These Basins belong to the City and County of San Francisco, and the Supervisors are empowered by law to lease them, or any portion of them, for a term not to exceed five years.

The lumber merchants doing business on East street, have occupied a portion of the street for sixteen years past, and lately the property owners have made numerous complaints against the further continuance of the trespass. They have decided to move their lumber, and a committee is now engaged in drafting maps of the China and Central Basins, and collating all the information possible, upon which to base a report for or against the proposition to move their lumber yards to the Basins. The great objection is the short lease, but it is believed that the next Legislature would remove this difficulty and increase to fifteen, or even twenty years, if the lumber merchants decide to move. The piling and cappign would be the great item of expense and they would not consent to go there without a longer lease. It has been estimated that an expenditure of at least $200,000 will be needed before the different firms can move their lumber there. A great advantage, however, will be the depth of water. The lumber schooners can run alongside of the wharves and discharge their cargoes, while at the present time many are compelled to discharge by means of lighters, or lay in the stream for several days waiting for an opportunity to get to the wharves.

Source: Alta, 20 October 1877, page 1.


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