Art on BART


An artist guided tour of the Bay Area Urban Ecosystem

On October 1st, people from all over the San Francisco Bay Area converged at Civic Center BART Station in time to catch the 10:26 AM train. We boarded the train together and gained and lost people throughout the day.

Everyone received a folded map with Bay Area ecological information printed on the back and the day’s itinerary (below).

We were amused by swarms of people with cameras, a psychological performance art piece by Lori Gordon, dance by Nicole Krauch and Jenny Selgrath, participation exercises lead by Levana Saxon and unexpected Hula dance lessons from Hawaiian tourists. Reck Prelinger provided riders with a detailed guide to the local radio frequencies that ride our air waves. Ted Purves, Susanne Cockrell and their son Oliver greeted during the lunch stop with a cart full of fresh pairs, apples, homemade preserves and bread.

Among flourishes of activities and story-telling by Bill Owens, we succumbed to all other likely BART activities; we lost our balance when the train stopped abruptly, we napped and wrote in journals provided by Toph Woodward, and we got to know each other.

Before we exited the system at 6:30 PM, we’d ridden throughout the Bay Area to the end of every train line.



Welcome, and thank you for riding with us on an urban adventure aboard the Bay Area Rapid Transit System. We begin our tour in San Francisco center and continue outward through the commuter towns, industrial and rural areas that make up the body of our region. Today’s performances and presentations are a jumping off point for reuniting people with their ecosystem. The intention of ART on BART is to imagine a healthier future by invoking a Bay Area that existed only 200 years ago.

CIVIC CENTER / UN PLAZA STATION Board the Millbrae train at 10:26 AM.
After 1849 the Gold Rush brought an overwhelming amount of people to San Francisco. Land became a precious commodity and early cemeteries, like the Yerba Buena Cemetery, where the Main Public Library is located, were unearthed and moved. As the population grew, there was pressure to relocate all of San Francisco’s cemeteries.

The United Nations was born in San Francisco in 1945. The preamble to the UN Charter was written by Virginia Gildersleeve, who was the only woman delegate to the chartering conference for the UN. Her text reads, “We the peoples of the United Nations, determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom, and for these ends to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples, have resolved to combine our efforts to accomplish these aims.” i
In 1975, United Nations Plaza was built above the Civic Center BART Station as part of the Market Street redevelopment project. In 2005, Civic Center Station was renamed Civic Center / UN Plaza Station to commemorate the United Nations’ 60th Anniversary.

Heart of the City Farmers Market is in open Sundays from 7 AM to 5 PM and Wednesdays from 7 AM to 5:30 PM located in UN Plaza.

16TH STREET MISSION Above our heads and to the west, beside the original Mission Dolores Church, Lago de Los Dolores (Lake of the Sorrows) once reached from 15th to 19th Street and from Guerrero to Capp Street.

Dolores Park has been open space throughout its entire history. Ohlone American Indian tribes inhabited the land for centuries, and then they shared it with early San Francisco residents. Mission Dolores Church Cemetery was built in 1776 beside what is now Dolores Park. There were 5,515 graves in the cemetery, most of which were Ohlone American Indian. In the 1930s many of the graves were consolidated, and some were relocated. In the late 1800s, the land became a Jewish Cemetery, which was later evicted. The area became Dolores Park in 1905 and served as a refugee camp for 1,600 families after the 1906 earthquake.

24TH STREET MISSION There are a number of industrial sites in the Bay Area that have had serious impact on the health of the land and its residents. The EPA makes available a list of Superfund National Priority List Sites that are in need of detoxification. One of these is Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, located east of 24th Street Mission Station on the Bay’s shore. When it closed, the shipyard left behind San Francisco’s worst toxic waste dump and a legacy of nuclear and chemical pollution that residents fear may have a long term effect on health in their low-income neighborhoods.

GLEN PARK Volunteers work in Glen Canyon Park to remove invasive plant species such as French broom or wild radish and to add native plants. The wider the variety of native plants in the canyon, the greater the variety of animals the habitat will support. Glen Canyon has three distinct habitats, grassland, riparian and coastal scrub, which provide biodiversity not found in other city parks.

DALY CITY The 1906 earthquake and fire was the first natural disaster that San Francisco residents witnessed. After the destruction of their city, groups of people living in San Francisco took refuge on John Daly’s dairy farm. In 1911 Daly City incorporated into a township.
Daly City is located on the San Andreas Fault line. South, in the Santa Cruz Mountains, San Andreas Fault curves slightly to the left creating a cluster of compressional faults (plates slide toward each other creating mountains) and at Daly City the fault curves slightly to the right creating a smaller cluster of extensional faults (plates move away from each other creating lowlands).

Oceanview Village opened in 2002 and represents a new trend, transit oriented development. Oceanview Village is a combination of 370 condos and affordable housing units built above a mixture of service businesses: Albertsons, Rite Aid, Bally Total Fitness and Starbucks Coffee. There is a path leading from the back of Oceanview Village to the Daly City BART Station.

COLMA In 1901 San Francisco passed an ordinance prohibiting further burials within the city. In 1914 San Francisco evicted all but two of the existing cemeteries. By 1942 Colma became the location for all that could be moved of San Francisco’s buried. There are 18 cemeteries in Colma.

The seven acre Junipero Serra Landfill closed in 1983. Home Depot Inc. reclaimed the land and built the Colma Home Depot store and parking lot on 1,348 piles, each driven 160 feet deep into the landfill. The site also required the engineering of a landfill gas control system because when organic solid waste aerobically decomposes, it produces methane and carbon dioxide gases, which are toxic in large amounts.

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO The Ramaytush Ohlone American Indians inhabited San Mateo and San Francisco Peninsula before the Spanish arrived.

American Indian tribes native to Northern California chose the name Ohlone to represent them. The Ohlone were separate tribelets, small clusters of nomadic hunter gatherers, who occupied the Central Valley to the Pacific Coast between Big Sur and the Golden Gate of San Francisco Bay. Tribes shared similar languages, boundary lines, and intermarried, but they were not a unified people. Each tribe had a distinctive name, its own leader, territory and customs. The people had close physical and psychological bonds to the environment and were accustomed to small societies. For some village members, their entire existence may have been spent within a radius of ten to fifteen miles of their natal village; therefore, each rock, spring, tree, and creek was known intimately.

SAN BRUNO San Bruno Mountain State Park, San Mateo County, is an island in a sea of development. The Mountain forms a northern peak of the Santa Cruz Range and is habitat for close to twenty uncommon organisms. In the recent past, large sections of San Bruno Mountain have been excavated, the earth used to fill the Bay at San Francisco International Airport and Foster City.

On San Bruno Mountain and throughout the Bay Area, deposits of American Indian debris called Shellmounds remain. Ohlone American Indian Shellmounds contain shell, residue, rock, ash, vertebrate remains and fishbone. Deposits demonstrate anywhere from 3,500 to 10,000 years of life with relatively little impact on the land.

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT San Bruno Mountain can be seen out of the northern windows as we head from San Francisco International Airport Station to San Bruno Station. ‘South San Francisco: The Industrial City’ is branded in white concrete on the steep slope of a south facing foothill.

MILLBRAE Arrive at 11:01 AM.
Board Dublin / Pleasanton train at 11:11 AM.

BALBOA PARK Arrive at 11:34 AM.
Board Richmond train at 11:38 AM.

POWELL STREET Early morning on April 18, 1906, an earthquake struck San Francisco, causing fires to rage for several days, killing 700 people and destroying downtown infrastructure. The epicenter was very near San Francisco, and shaking lasted from 45 to 60 seconds.

San Francisco residents dispose of their garbage in three carts. The blue cart is for glass bottles and jars, plastics, foil, cans, tins, paper products and flat cardboard. The city composts all vegetable and animal food scraps as well as yard trimmings and milk cartons in green carts. The black cart is for non-recyclable, non-compostable refuse: plastic bags, Styrofoam, juice boxes, mirrors, window panes or light bulbs, ceramic dishes or cups, liquids, diapers, branches over 6” thick or longer than 3’, kitty litter and animal feces.

MONTGOMERY STREET In 1845, San Francisco’s downtown was a landscape of shifting sand dunes that were 40 to 100 feet tall with tidal marshes at their bases. The land was once spotted in dune scrub, coyote bush, mock heather, shrubs and scattered wildflowers. There was a small stream running down to the Bay about where Montgomery Street is today.

San Francisco’s population exploded from a few hundred in 1848 to 25,000 in 1850 and to more than 55,000 by the end of the 1850s. California’s legislature incorporated San Francisco as a city on April 15, 1850.

EMBARCADERO When Yerba Buena Cove, of the San Francisco Bay was filled to extend the coastline, workers employed sunken ships, materials from the city’s dump, as well as sand and debris. In 1994, while workers were excavating a new tunnel between Embarcadero and Sixth Street to extend San Francisco Muni, crews discovered a cast iron anchor from the Gold Rush era ship ‘Rome’.

The Trans Bay Tube is 3.8 miles long connecting San Francisco to Oakland crossing underneath the Bay Bridge. At its deepest point, the tube is 135 feet below sea level.

The Embarcadero Freeway was built in 1958 spanning a section from the Bay Bridge to Broadway. This freeway stub was the beginning of a plan to build a direct freeway between the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge. The elevated double deck freeway obstructed the Embarcadero waterfront, and even before it opened in 1959, the Board of Supervisors voted not to allow any other similar freeways in the city. Embarcadero Freeway was demolished in 1990.

Embarcadero Farmers Market is open Tuesdays from 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM located in Justin Herman Plaza between Market and Embarcadero Streets.
Ferry Building Farmers Market is open Saturdays and Sundays located in the Ferry Building and in the parking lot behind the Ferry Building on Embarcadero Street.

There are secure bicycle lockers at the Embarcadero BART Station.

WEST OAKLAND The West Oakland Neighborhood, of 25,000 residents, is on flatland beside the Port of Oakland. Residents in West Oakland are subjected to a variety of environmental toxins including lead paint and asbestos tiles in their homes as well as particulate residue from years of industry. Residents also contend with poorly maintained buildings, many of which were badly damaged in the 1989 earthquake. The most invasive polluter is the Port of Oakland. The Port loads and discharges more than 99 percent of all containerized goods moving through Northern California. Cargo volume makes it the fourth busiest container port in the US. Armies of diesel trucks circulate goods in and out of West Oakland, and trucks idle to keep their drivers warm while they wait or sleep in the cabs.
One of the largest single air polluters in West Oakland, Red Star Yeast, ceased operations in 2003; just an empty triangular lot remains next to the BART Station. BART and neighborhood advocates will probably to build a transit oriented development in its place, much like the brightly colored one seen out of BART’s northern windows.

Superfund National Priority List: AMCO Chemical Site. “The AMCO Chemical site is located at 1414 Third Street in West Oakland and operated as a chemical transfer facility from the 1960s to 1989. Site operations involved the transfer of chemicals from large volume tanks and railroad cars into smaller volume drums and containers for resale. Site operations released chemicals into the environment that have contaminated groundwater, soil, and air.” ii

OAKLAND CITY CENTER 12TH STREET Oakland recycles yard trimmings and food scraps in green carts; paper, cans and bottles go into gray carts; all other garbage is thrown away in burgundy carts.

Old Oakland Farmers Market is open Fridays from 8 AM to 2 PM located at 9th and Broadway.

19TH STREET OAKLAND The BART route between Oakland and Fremont follows the South Pacific Coast Railroad, which began operating in 1880. The railroad ran 80 miles from Alameda to Santa Cruz carrying lumber from the redwoods, produce from the Central Valley and people back and forth from rural areas to Oakland and San Francisco.

ASHBY Much of the Bay’s coastline has been altered from its natural state. Beginning in the mid 1800s, large tidal marshes and mudflats in the San Francisco Bay’s Estuary were filled, diked or drained to create farms, ports, salt ponds, rail lines and roads. The western shorelines of both Emeryville and Berkeley have been altered.

DOWNTOWN BERKELEY Berkeley’s Ecology Center became one of the first groups to do curbside recycling beginning with a monthly newspaper collection in 1973. The center is still in charge of weekly curbside pick ups today. Berkeley residents recycle newspapers and inserts, white and colored paper, magazines, junk mail, cereal boxes, envelopes, paperback books, phone books, catalogs, paper bags and egg cartons.

Secure bicycle lockers are available at the Downtown Berkeley BART Station.

Berkeley Farmers Market is open Saturdays from 10 AM to 3 PM located at Center Street between Milvia and Martin Luther King.

NORTH BERKELEY The BART Station is directly across the street from the west end of the five block long Ohlone Park. The Ohlone Greenway is a bicycle and walking path that starts at Ohlone Park and follows the BART right of to El Cerrito. The path can be seen occasionally from northeastern train windows.

EL CERRITO PLAZA A Farmers Market in El Cerrito Plaza is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 9 AM to 1 PM.

EL CERRITO DEL NORTE Baxter Creek runs under BART between El Cerrito Del Norte and Richmond Stations. The creek originates in underground springs beneath the Richmond and El Cerrito Hills. Advocates for saving Baxter Creek Watershed were activated in 1997, when the owners of Lucky Market (later Albertson’s) announced plans to burry Baxter Creek Wetlands underneath a 65,000 square foot grocery store and parking lot. Community activism prompted the city of El Cerrito to purchase the property in 2003.
Baxter Creek and Wetlands are being restored, but only a few segments of creek remain above ground in the original setting. “To accommodate rapid growth over the past 60 years, [Richmond and El Cerrito] followed now-outmoded engineering assumptions by channelizing their creeks into concrete culverts. Although this approach resulted in the construction of uniform patterns of residential and commercial buildings, it buried underground some of the cities’ most precious natural resources, which provided riparian habitat for wildlife as well as areas of solace for urban residents.” iii

RICHMOND Arrive at 12:27 PM.
Board Fremont train at 12:35 PM.
Richmond Kaiser Shipyards began operating in 1940 and were the largest and most effective shipyards in the nation. Kaiser actively recruited people to work at its four shipyards from all over the nation, and Richmond’s population grew from 20,000 residents to 100,000 residents in three years. 27 % of the total US Maritime Commissioned ships were built at Kaiser. The shipyards utilized assembly line techniques and employed unskilled workers, women and minorities. In assembly lines, pre made parts were brought together piece by piece, moved into place with huge cranes and welded together by “Rosies” actually “Wendy the Welders” in the Richmond yards.

Ferries were once a primary form of public transportation in the Bay Area, and people were in contact with the Bay each day. Ferries ran continuously from Castro Point to San Quentin Point until 1956, when the Richmond San Rafael Bridge replaced them.

Richmond Transit Village is located adjacent to the northwestern side of the BART Station. It has rental units and affordable and market housing with alley fed parking, wide walkways, and easy access to public transportation (BART, Amtrak and AC Transit bus lines are joined by one station).

Superfund National Priority List: United Heckathorn Co. United Heckathorn was located on five land acres and 15 acres of water channels in the Richmond Harbor. From 1947 to 1966 Heckathorn received technical grade pesticides from chemical manufacturers, ground them in air mills, mixed them with other ingredients such as clays or solvents, and packaged them for final use in liquid or powder form. Dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethane (DDT) accounted for approximately 95% of Heckathorn’s operations. Approximately 10,900 people live within one mile of Richmond Harbor.

MACARTHUR Arrive at 12:54 PM.
Board Pittsburg / Bay Point train at 1:16 PM.
West of MacArthur Station in Emeryville, there once was a 1,000 feet long, 300 feet wide and 22 feet high American Indian Shellmound.

ROCKRIDGE Arrive at 1:19 PM. One hour lunch.
Board Pittsburg / Bay Point train at 2:19 PM.

On the way from Rockridge BART Station to Orinda we pass through the Berkeley Hills Tunnel, 3.2 miles of bedrock. The earthquake active Hayward Fault crosses through the Oakland Foothills about 1,000 feet from the western mouth of the tunnel.

ORINDA We have now entered Contra Costa County. The clean and tidy developments of Orinda, Lafayette, Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill are opposite the highest concentration of industrial facilities in the state as well as the highest number of major refinery and chemical plants outside of Los Angeles County.

Orinda Farmers Market runs from May to November and is open Saturdays from 9 AM to 1 PM located in Orinda Village at Orinda Way and Camino Sobrante.

LAFAYETTE Lafayette Reservoir is one mile south of the BART Station. Fish in the reservoir have mercury and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) in their bodies and are unsafe to eat. PCBs are a group of organic chemicals that have leached into the water over the past 50 years; they can be odorless or mildly aromatic waxy solids or oily liquids. Until they were banned in 1977, PCBs were used as hydraulic fluids, plasticizers, adhesives, fire retardants, way extenders, dedusting agents, pesticide extenders, inks, lubricants, cutting oils, carbonless copy paper and for heat transfer systems. The accumulation of mercury and PCBs in the body over time can result in harm to developing fetuses. These toxins may also affect the human nervous or immune systems and may increase long term cancer risk.

WALNUT CREEK Walnut Creek Farmers Market is open Sundays from 8 AM to 1 PM located in the library parking lot at the corner of Broadway and Lincoln.

PLEASANT HILL American Indian tribal territories around the Bay Area were delineated not by artificial lines drawn on the land, but by watersheds. A creek and its tributary streams extended to the crests of surrounding hills and separated one watershed from another, and in turn, one territory from another. One tribe held both banks of a river, creek or stream.

NORTH CONCORD / MARTINEZ Port Chicago was an industrial port used by the US Navy during WWII. The port is about 5 miles northwest of Martinez BART Station on the south shore of Suisun Bay. 320 men were killed and nearly 400 were wounded at Port Chicago on July 17, 1944 when 5,000 tons of ammunition exploded. The blast caused a crater 66 feet deep, 300 feet wide and 700 feet long. 202 of the men killed in the explosion were enlisted African American men who were ordered to load the ships with explosives. After the accident that caused the explosion, white officers were granted 30 days leave to visit their families, but black sailors were not granted leave and refused to return to work. The mutiny at Port Chicago resulted in 50 black sailors being sent to jail. Sailors were later released in 1945 but received no Naval benefits. Freddie Meeks, who died in 2003, was the only one of the “Port Chicago 50” to receive a pardon, which he accepted in 1999 from President Bill Clinton.

Superfund National Priority List: Concord Naval Weapons Station (formerly Port Chicago).

Board Daly City train at 2:57 PM.
The San Francisco Bay Delta ecosystem provides habitat for fish, birds, mammals, and plants while also supporting farming and recreational activities. The Sacramento San Joaquin Delta has been the focal point for water related issues, generating more investigations than any other waterway in California. California’s two largest water systems, the State Water Project and Central Valley Project divert water from the Delta into canals headed for the Central Valley and Southern California.
Superfund National Priority List: GBF, Inc., Dump. From 1960 to 1974, there were ten evaporation ponds on the GBF site, which is located in Antioch approximately 10 miles east of the Pittsburg/Baypoint BART Station. The evaporation ponds were used for the disposal of hazardous liquid wastes. The ponds were uncovered and unlined to allow wastes to evaporate into the air and percolate into the ground. Waste oils, chlorinated and nonchlorinated solvents, acids, pesticides, PCBs, and beryllium and phosphorous wastes were dumped into the ponds. Concentrations of organic chemicals in the ponds were flammable, and at least three major fires were documented on the site in the early 1970s.

MACARTHUR Arriving at 3:34 PM.
Transferring to the Fremont train at 3:34 PM.

LAKE MERRITT Lake Merritt, the nation’s oldest wildlife refuge, was created in 1869 when Oakland Mayor Dr. Samuel Merritt donated money to build a dam at the 12th Street Bridge across a narrow inlet. The brackish water (mixture of fresh and salt) is an average of 10 feet deep and supports populations of shrimp, fish, migrating and residential bird species, clams and crabs. Lake Merritt is the largest saline lake located within an urban area; it covers 155 acres of land and measures 3.4 miles around the circumference.
In 1915 people began organized feedings of the birds. In 1925 the first bird island was constructed and four more were built in 1956. The artificial islands provide shelter for hundreds of bird species, among them, egrets, herons and Canada goose.

BART has plans to make Lake Merritt Station safer and to increase pedestrian and bicycle access.

FRUITVALE A Transit Village at Fruitvale opened in May 2004 and includes a mixture of HUD homes (Government Department of Housing and Urban Development) and mixed income housing. Below the housing units there are retail shops, restaurants, offices, a public library, a nonprofit medical clinic, a child care facility, a pedestrian plaza and a parking garage. The development is intended to serve today’s residents.

The Fruitvale Bicycle Station is located to the left of the entrance to Fruitvale Village, 100 feet northeast of the BART Station. Fruitvale Bicycle Station has 230 bike storage spaces in a secure indoor facility that is supervised at all times and free to commuters. Spaces are given out daily on a first come, first served basis. Also at the bicycle station, there is a full service repair center and a retail store open Monday through Friday 6 AM to 8 PM.

Fruitvale Farmers Market is open Sundays from 10 AM to 3 PM located in Fruitvale Village.

SAN LEANDRO San Leandro operates a sensible wastewater treatment facility. The plant produces about 5.5 million gallons of high quality secondary effluent water per day and reclaims about 1 million gallons of water per day for irrigation. Biosolids removed from the wastewater process are dried and are suitable for recycling.

HAYWARD Transit oriented design in Hayward is helping it to recover from the almost complete disintegration of its center. Plans for Hayward include a revitalized main street, a new transit related civic center and hundreds of new housing units.

The Yrgin Ohlone harvested salt crystals from willow sticks placed in the shallow briny wetlands near Hayward. Spanish Missionaries later used Ohlone practices, and salt extraction from San Francisco Bay waters continued.

At the height of salt production, companies owned 10,000 acres of marshlands in the North Bay and almost half of all the marshlands in the South Bay, a total of 36,000 acres. Today 26,000 acres are used to produce salt.

SOUTH HAYWARD Before 1880 the quantity of wildlife in San Francisco Bay surpassed all imagination.

Located to the west in South San Francisco Bay, the land is separated into large patches of crimson (Cargill Salt Ponds, previously Leslie Salt) and brilliant green (protected wildlife area). The land is owned and maintained by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Tidal marshes, mudflats, and salt ponds provide habitat for the endangered California clapper rail and is wintering territory for shorebirds and waterfowl. Watersheds originating in the mountains above South San Francisco Bay empty into the estuary, which is affected by tidal action as well as mineral leakage from the Cargill ponds.

UNION CITY In the mid 1970s, the US Fish and Wildlife Service acquired approximately 13,000 acres of salt ponds from Leslie Salt, and the ponds became part of the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. In 1978, the Cargill Corporation purchased Leslie Salt. Although Cargill does not own the refuge salt ponds, it retains mineral rights and continues to produce salt on refuge lands.

Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct provides water to San Francisco. The aqueduct crosses under BART near Union City.

Alameda Creek is the large waterway flowing from east to west between Union City and Fremont Stations.

The Coyote Hills Wetlands are located on the Bay just south of Alameda Creek and north of state route 84. Herons, egrets, harriers, muskrat, peregrine falcons and ducks reside in the Coyote Hills Wetlands

FREMONT Arrive at 4:17 PM.
Board Richmond train at 4:32 PM.

BART has plans to extend service from Fremont Station adding 5.4 miles of track along the Union Pacific Railroad. Two stations, one at Irvington and one at Warm Springs may be added. Service to Warm Springs is estimated to begin in 2008.
San Jose is continuing to promote a 6 billion dollar, 16.3 mile BART extension from Fremont to San Jose.

San Francisco Bay tributaries contain high levels of mercury. Most mercury deposits date back to the 1800s, when the mineral was first mined heavily throughout the Coastal Range. Raw mercury sulfide was turned into quicksilver, which was used in the amalgamation of gold in Sierra Nevada mines. The New Almaden Mining District, 12 miles south of San Jose, began mining in 1845. Before its closure, the New Almaden Mining District was the largest mercury producer in North America. Guadalupe Creek Watershed and Alamitos Subwatershed originate near the mining district and continue today to flush mercury tailings into San Francisco Bay.

“The original discovery of the bright-red, eye-catching mercury sulfide, the mineral known as cinnabar, probably was made long before white men reached California. According to an oft-repeated legend, Indians living on a low foothill of the Santa Cruz Mountains, known as Los Capitancillos Ridge, knew of a ‘red cave’ to which their forefathers had retreated to paint their bodies with the vermilion found along its walls. The red paint made from this rock caused skin eruptions, and, believing the cave to be possessed of an evil spirit, the Indians thereafter shunned it. This legend is somewhat supported by tales of early visitors to the New Almaden mine, which mention an old 50- to 100-foot irregular opening or tunnel which when cleaned out, was found to contain a number of Indian skeletons together with rounded boulders that might have been used in making the crude excavation.” iv

Other forms of mercury in our lakes, streams, rivers, and oceans come from power plants burning coal, municipal and medical waste incinerators burning mercury tainted trash, wastewater discharge, and resuspension of historic deposits already in San Francisco Bay. When conditions are right, bacteria convert inorganic mercury into the organic form, methyl mercury, which is the form that compromises ecological well-being and human health.

BAY FAIR Arrive at 4:49 PM.
Board Dublin / Pleasanton train at 4:55 PM.

CASTRO VALLEY The Chochenyo Ohlone American Indians resided in the Livermore Valley.

Strobridge Court Apartments is a transit oriented development with 61 units of affordable senior housing, parking facilities for 67 cars, and 32 affordable flats and townhouses for families. Developers saved and converted the historic Strobridge House (built in the 1890s) into three apartments for seniors. The apartments are within walking distance of downtown and house a BART police station.

Board Millbrae train at 5:18 PM.

Willow Marsh once flooded the lowlands just south of the Dublin Pleasanton BART Station. The marsh grew and receded over the years, and filled land area from the Hacienda Business Park to where the 580-680 Interchange now stands.

Superfund National Priority List: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The laboratory is located on one square mile of land near Livermore, about 12 miles east of the Dublin Pleasanton BART Station. “The laboratory’s self-described purpose currently is ‘to promote innovation in the design of our nation’s nuclear stockpile through creative science and engineering.’” v A number of research and support operations at the lab handle, generate, or manage hazardous materials that include radioactive wastes. Hazardous waste treatment activities are carried out on site. In 1984, the California Department of Health Services issued an Order for Compliance to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to provide alternative water supplies to residents west of the facility, whose wells had been contaminated by hazardous substances.


This information was gathered from many different sources. I have cited only direct quotations. Please contact me for a complete list.

iv Geologic Guidebook of the San Francisco Bay Counties: History, Landscape, Geology, Fossils,
Minerals, Industry, and Routes to Travel. Bulletin 154. Department of Natural Resources
State of California Division of Mines, San Francisco, CA. December 1951.

Special thanks to Megan and Rick Prelinger and The Prelinger Library, Robert Yepez, Steven Leiber, Lorna Brod, Bill Owens and Mike Dyar.