Demolition Will Erase History
The workers pictured above have been busy this week taking down a set of non-descript graffiti-ridden buildings at 2100 Clement Ave. They are making way for a condominium complex. The buildings on the site once housed workshops for Pacific Bridge Company, one of the prestigious “Six Companies” that built the Hoover Dam.
During World War II, “Six Companies” rolled up their collective sleeves and helped restore Pearl Harbor after the Japanese attack. They built airstrips and held a majority ownership interest in the Joshua Hendy Iron Works in Sunnyvale whose assembly line built reciprocating steam engines for 754 Liberty ships. The companies teamed up with one of its members, Henry J. Kaiser (from the Hoover Dam days years earlier) to take over shipbuilding on San Francisco Bay.
On his website “Shipbuilding History,” naval historian Tim Colton reports that the Portland Ore.-based Pacific Bridge Company came to Alameda in 1942. Its Clement Avenue shipyard included the Oakland Estuary shoreline where the Navy operations center now stands.
This is not the first time history has been erased at the site. Alameda builder Joseph A. Leonard, famous for Alameda’s Leonardville, built four of the homes that currently stand on Eagle Avenue, just across the street from the site.
Colton says the Pacific Bridge Company either tore down or relocated homes when it built its operations on Clement. These homes likely stood on Eagle Avenue and could have been ones built by Leonard.