Thursday, September 26, 2019

Angel Island

A few weeks ago I blogged about barges... and what I could see from my window. From my window I can also see Angel Island. In fact, if it weren't for Angel Island, I could see the Golden Gate Bridge! 

Angel Island is the backdrop as sailboats jockey for position for the start of the weekly race. 
Angel Island is a State Park. It is accessible by ferry from Tiburon or from San Francisco. The Mister and I took our bikes, boarded the ferry in Tiburon, and explored Angel Island.

On the ferry, getting ready to leave Tiburon

Looking down into Ayala Cove. This is where the ferries come in.
Individuals may also rent moorings, bikes or take a tram tour. 
Angel Island has a storied past, with lots of history. Early on the Island was visited by Indians and sailors, and in 1850 it became a federal military reserve. Quarrying began, and rock was crushed to make roads on the island.

Remains of the stone crushers are found near the road, next to a quarry.

To safeguard against attack in the Civil War three artillery batteries were constructed and Camp Reynolds was built. There are still a number of buildings from this era, as well as additional buildings that were added to meet the needs of the military in later years.

The garrison building and other buildings at Camp Reynolds.
picture from Angel Island site.

This is the Camp Reynolds hospital, which was built in the early 1900's
The Island was used to support other military endeavors, and then in 1891 it became a quarantine station for ships entering San Francisco Bay. The island also housed soldiers with infectious diseases. In 1901 the detention facilities were used as a discharge camp for soldiers returning from the Philippines. Construction on Ft. McDowell and the immigration center began around 1910. Over 600,000 soldiers were processed through Ft. McDowell during the first World War.

Riding through Ft. McDowell - an amazing ghost town.

A Military Museum in the guard house and jail on Ft. McDowell

Only a few of the buildings at the fort's east garrison are still habitable. A few of the officer's quarters are used for resident staff of the park.

We could not ride our bikes down to the immigration station, which is often referred to as the Ellis Island of the west. We both wanted to see it... next trip! Over 225,000 immigrants were detained at the station between 1910 and 1940. Most of the immigrants were Chinese or Japanese. Those wishing to come to our country at that time had to be educated and practicing needed professions. The country did not want laborers to come in from other countries taking jobs from Americans.

During World War II the garrison was again used for a point of embarkation for soldiers as well as to detain prisoners of war. In 1945 the island was used, once again, to process returning soldiers.

In the 1950's an area of the island became a Nike missile base, with 12 underground missiles designed for anti-aircraft defense. The missiles were removed in the early 60's and the island was turned over to the State.

The Perimeter Road around the island is about 5 miles in length. Bikers, hikers, Segway tours and a tram tour circle the island. The road was almost always our own as we peddled up and down the hills and enjoyed the spectacular views!

Looking towards are house
The Bay Bridge from San Francisco to Oakland
The Golden Gate Bridge
A container ship is heading out to sea.
It looks as big as Alcatraz, which is on the right.,
and seemingly dwarfs San Francisco.

Folks with bikes boarded the return ferry first.
Here is the line of folks following us onto the boat. 
Our return to Tiburon, after a glorious day on Angel Island,
and an amazing trip through time!


  1. How wonderful to have that almost in your backyard so to speak!

    1. You bet! It is lovely to look at, and was beautiful to visit. We hope to get back there next summer.


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