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On July 7, 1846, Commodore John Drake Sloat, United States Navy, first raised the Stars and Stripes on yonder flagstaff at the old customhouse in Monterey, thus adding subsequently another star to our flag. (Incidentally, the same flagstaff first used by Sloat is still in use, it being a spar taken from one of his vessels.)

What could be more fitting or appropriate than that there should be established, almost under the shadow of that flag, by the raising of which the United States Navy acquired California for the Nation, a naval base, that the glorious traditions of our splendid Navy bé perpetuated?


San Francisco, Calif., January 23, 1920. From: Commandant. To: Chief of Naval Operations. Navy Department, Washington, D. C. Subject: Proposed naval operating base. Monterey, Calif. References: (n) Commandant's preliminary report to Bureau of Navigation, No.

13518-H-19, of December 15, 1919. (6) Report of Navy Yard Commission, House Document No. 1946, Part 1, page 19, paragraph 30, and page 23, paragraph 54. (c) Report of Commander L. H. Cox (CC), U.S. N., aide for Public Works, Twelfth Naval District. dated January 16, 1920. (d) Letter of Lieut. Frank Simpson, jr., U.S. N. R. F.. Class 5, and attached memorandum dated January 21, 1920. (e) Report of Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors. April 11, 1916, contained in Document 5. Committee on Rivers and Harbors, House of Representatives, United States,

Sixty-fourth Congress, first session. Inclosures: (3) (1) Copy of reference (a). (B) Copy of reference (c). (C) Copy of reference (d).

1. In paragraph 30 of reference (b), the Helm Board reported that it had made a personal inspection of conditions at Monterey. It appears that the board inspected a site which was located on the military reservation at Monterey and reported adversely upon it. There was nothing to indicate that the Laguna del Rey was brought to the attention of this board. In paragraph 31, same reference, Monterey Bay was recommended under the head of "Temporary war operating bases," as a submarine base and as an aircraft operating base. The Helm Board report was made in 1917, before the full value of the lessons of the great war had been learned. As result of the operations in that war, I am convinced that it is a necessity to have at least three bases between San Francisco and San Pedro for submarines, destroyers, aircraft, and in general such small war craft as minesweepers, mine layers, and patrol vessels, made ready in time of peace for use in war. if it can be done without prohibitive cost. These bases would also be of much use in times of peace in such operations of aircraft as were recently carried out when a flight was made from San Diego to San Francisco, and which are contemplated in the instructions for the naval air station, San Diego, Calif., also for small craft in general in connection with their training for duties with the fleet in preparation for war. Monterey is about 90 miles from the Golden Gate, and the possibility of making a harbor of the Laguna del Rey seems to offer a desirable location for such a base, together with commercial possibilities which make the expenditure involved reasonable.

2. It will probably be necessary to protect the entrance to this lagoon by a breakwater to prevent its being choked up by drifting sand. As indicated in reference (t), the river and harbor act of July 25, 1912, adopted a project for a breakwater at Monterey Harbor at a cost of $800.000, provided local interests would contribute the sum of $200,000 to be used toward the execution of the project, and provided further, that assurance be given satisfactory to the Secretary of War that rail connections between Monterey and the San Joaquin Valley would be effected within a reasonable time. A first appropriation of $200,000 was made. The State of California undertook to provide the $200,000 required of local interests, but the railroad has not been built, and the community has not been able to make the guaranty that it would be built. Members of the chambers of commerce at Monterey have argued that the two highways which are to be built by the State into the San Joaquin Valley will be, to all practical purposes, as good as a railroad on account of the extensive use of the automobile truck for short hauls and the short distance from the San Joaquin Valley to Monterey. The claim is that the automobile truck for such short hauls is really better than the railroad, because the truck can go into the orchard or other agricultural activity, load up and carry its cargo directly to the wharf for unloading onto a steamer, whereas with a railroad additional handling of the freight is necessary. This argument appeals to me.

It is






understood from reference (e) that this congressional appropriation has been transferred to other work, and would necessitate reappropriation. It would seem that with the need for such a breakwater by the Navy, added to the commercial requirements of the port, it would not be difficult to have this appropriation renewed and increased, if necessary, at a time when the Government's income will permit, and I believe that a beginning should be made as soon as possible. It is noted that the location of the breakwater des gned by Army engineers is not the same as that suggested by Commander Cox, but the latter is governed by the location of the lagoon.

3. Reference (c) is a report of the bill for public works of the twelfth naval district, who has made a tentative layout for a base, which involves a breakwater to cost about $2,000,000, dredging on entrance channel 300 feet wide and 30 feet deep, and an inner harbor to the depth 25 feet. His report is accompanied by a letter from the president of the chamber of commerce at Monterey, which agrees to secure the title to the lagoon and the tract of land for the naval reservation free of cost to the Government. Commander Cox was too modest in his request for the reservation site, and I am convinced that the chamber of commerce at Monterey is prepared to give more than requested by him. The experience of the Navy Department is that naval reservations are too small, to begin with, and that when it is desired to enlarge them, the cost of the land is excessive. It has already been suggested that a landing field for land planes be provided on the reservation, and, in view of the fact that battleships are to carry such planes, this seems to be pertinent. I have discussed with the president and other members of the chamber of commerce at lionterey the question of controlling the whole of the area of the lagoon and the water front made by the excavation, and feel confident that all the land immediately around the lagoon can be secured at very little cost. There are, I understand, a large number of small holders, and the chamber of commerce would undertake to purchase their holdings, if necessary, and in a quiet way, which would probably avoid exorbitant prices. In view of what the cities of San Diego and Los Angeles have offered the Navy Department I believe it is desirable to ask the chamber of commerce at Monterey to transfer the title to all the area proposed to be dredged, and with a suitable strip of land surrounding this water area, together with the land to be covered by the disposal of the dredgings. The area of the inner harbor to be formed by dredging will not be large, and, if it is to be used for aviation purposes specially, it is desired to have control of the whole area, permitting it, however, to be used for commercial purposes under such regulations as the Navy Department may determine, these regulations, of course, being as liberal as possible for the commercial users. Commander Cox's report indicates a number of wharves for commercial purposes. It would not be necessary to build all of these wharves at the beginning, nor would it be necessary to dredge the whole area to the depth of 25 feet at the beginning. In order that the whole of this inner basin may be controlled by the Navy for military purposes, it is suggested that that portion of the shore line which is not required for naval purposes be leased by the Government to commercial enterprises on such terms as will be satisfactory to their interests to develop the commerce of the port and at the same time will serve the Government's interests in the event that enlarging the naval reservation should become necessary. It seems that, with suitable transportation facilities connecting Monterey with the near-by portion of the San Joaquin Valley and the Salinas Valley, there are great possibilities for a port at Monterey, and the development of the commerce may indicate in a few years the desirability of carrying out the harbor proposition as indicated by Commander Cox in inclosure (G), plate 12, of his report.

4. The conversion of this lagoon into an inner harbor, and the construction of a breakwater will greatly stimulate the development of the part, permitting privately owned shipping to find berthing spaces free from the coastal swell and undertow which now make it impossible for large vessels to lie at existing wharves without damaging them, and at the same time provide the necessary naval base for small craft. A necessary feature of developing the lagoon and inner harbor is the removal of the railroad track which now crosses the lagoon. Commander Cox's report indicates a new route for the railroad, and it is believed that this route is practicable. It would be desirable, however, to have the city of Monterey arrange with the railroad for relocation.

5. Referring to ('ommander Cox's estimate (par. 10 of reference (C), under (a) “Improvement Outer Harbor"), the three piers in the outer harbor can be reduced to one in the original estimate. Under (b) * Basin development exclusive of the proposed naval depot,” in view of the fact that the basin need not be dredged at the present time to 25 feet over its whole area, the item of dredging can be considerably reduced for the original appropriation, also the item of 25 commercial piers could be eliminated; the idea being that these piers would be constructed as needed by the industries leasing the water front. If the plan which I have suggested, of the naval department controlling the entire water front of the basin, and leasing to commercial

interests portions of it, is adopted, I think the community could be released from further outlay than to provide a clear title to the water area and the land immediately Burrounding it, and expense of relocating the railroad, instead of providing $500,000 as suggested by Commander Cox. This, of course, involves the necessity of the commercial activities constructing their own wharves and buildings on shore under leases, Commander Cox's estimate for these piers alone being $328,000. It is also desirable, however, to have the State provide the $200,000, which is already appropriated for the breakwater and to confirm the title to the land and riparian rights to be transferred by the community. The word community" is used here instead of the city of Monterey, because, I am informed, this tract of land is not at present included in the city limits. I intend to take up with the president of the Chamber of Commerce of Monterey the question of securing a transfer to the Government, without cost to it, of a tract of land immediately surrounding the lagoon, large enough to meet probably naval requirements, as well as the water area of the lagoon itself.

6. Attention is invited to reference (d), which is a report made at my request by the aviator on duty at the office of the recruiting inspector of the western division.

7. It is probable that one of the principal uses of the lagoon for commercial purposes at first will be in connection with fshing and canning interests. The fsh industry at Monterey has developed tremendously in the last few years. The surface of Monterey Bay is usually smooth enough for small fishing vessels to lie at anchor in safety, and they can discharge their cargoes at a wharf on the south side of the bay, but during the heavy northerly storms which at times occur there is danger of these vessels being wrecked. The storm which occurred about two months ago caused great havoc among these vessels, and the proposed inner basin to be formed by dredging the lagoon would offer a safe refuge for these vessels in times of bad weather. Should the lagoon be used largely in connection with the fish industry, it would seem desirable to have the administration buildings, shops, etc., of the naval reservation on the windward side. Commander Cox has located them on the lee side as regards the prevailing wind. At present I see no good reason why they should not be on the other side. Commander Cox's plan is of course only tentative.

&. It is recommended that the department endeavor to secure the approval of Congress at the present session of the project and authority to accept from the city or county of Monterey and the State of California the title to the necessary land and water areas, including the riparian rights, free'of cost to the Government, in addition to the $200,000 which the State has already undertaken to contribute to the breakwater project which was approved in the river and harbor act of 1912, it being understood that the present project includes both the breakwater and inner basin and that the department will have complete control of the waters of the inner basin and of the tract of land surrounding it, and in order to provide for such shipping and commercial interests of the port of Monterey as may thus be accommodated, the department will be authorized to lease wharf sites and water-front property to those interests.

9. It is also recommended that the breakwater be regarded as a harbor improvement to be carried under the river and harbor act and built under the supervision of the Army engineers, but subject to the approval of the Navy Department as to location. It is understood that the river and harbor bill for this session has been reported to the House, and probably has passed that body. If this is the case, it is recommended that an effort be made to get an amendment inserted in the Senate appropriating a suflicient sum to permit of a beginning of work on the breakwater.

10. It is further recommended that the Naval Committee be asked for a substantial appropriation in the bill to be passed at the present session to enable a beginning to be made on the work to be undertaken under the department's direct supervision


JANUARY 10, 1920. From: Aid for public works, twelfth naval district. To: Commandant, twelfth naval district. Subject: Investigation of Laguna Grande Del Rey, Monterey, for development as

possible submarine or torpedo craft depot. Reference: (a) Commandant, twelfth naval district, Orders 270-D0-19, January 6,

1920. Inclosures: (A) Plate 1, blue print of scheme for development of Laguna Grande Del

Rey, Monterey, proposed by writer. (B) Plate 2, development scheme proposed by E. 1. Southworth, consulting engineer of Monterey. (C) White print of highway system of California, showing proposed new back country feeders to Monterey. (D) Proposal of Monterey Chamber of Commerce to donate for naval use certain property adjoining proposed development. (E) Letter from superintendent of

Monterey water works on available water supplies. (F) Plate 4, sky view of south end of Monterey Bay; plate 5, perspective print of lagoon showing proposed inner harbor; plate 6, view from northeast of proposed inner harbor, approach channel, and protecting breakwater; plate 7, panorama of Monterey and south part of bay looking south; plate 8, panorama of Monterey Bay, showing from Presidio around to Santa Cruz; plate 9, Monterey Bay, showing extent of fisheries; plate 10, panoramna of city of Monterey; plate 11, Monterey canneries. (G) Plate 12, proposed breakwater layout, Monterey Bay.

1. In accordance with directions contained in reference (a) I proceeded to Monterey, Calif., on January 6, éxamined the proposed site under consideration for development as a submarine or destroyer depot on January 7, and returned and resumed duty at my station on January 8. I visited the slough known locally as Laguna Grande Del Rey in the company of various local business men and city officials interested in the project, and later went over the estimates of the city engineer and his proposed plans.

2. The lagoon at present is a shallow pond, approximately five-eighths mile in length and in actual water area, not over four or five hundred feet wide at its widest point, with an average width of about 200 feet. It is formed by the dainming up by heach sand of the seaward end of an old drainage slough. The average water depth at present does not exceed 6 feet. The topography and subsurface conditions make possible a development by dredging to any reasonable depth and to width running from 1,200 feet at its western to 900 feet at its eastern end. Borings indicate the bottom to be of tule mud for a depth of approximately 15 feet, below that sand, all of the material being easily and cheaply dredged by suction dredger.

3. There is attached hereto, marked inclosure (A), a blue print showing the type of development which I believe is indicated for this lagoon. The development proposed by local interests is shown on inclosure (B), and it will be seen that the two projects differ in minor respects only. In general it is proposed to dredge a 30-foot entrance channel from the ocean following approximately the trace of the natural channel, which from time to time breaks out and is again filled up by beach sand; the deepening, by dredging, of the lagoon and the rectification of its water line in order to provide a basin of 25 feet in depth at low tide; and the development of this basin by piers for the accomodation of small boats used in the commercial canning business, with a water-front reservation approximately 1,000 feet long by 600 feet deep for the accommodation of destroyers and submarines.

4. In the project proposed by the local engineers it will be noted that the usable part of the basin is that part east of the main line of the Southern Pacific Railroad. In my opinion the whole project is so small that it would not pay unless its entire area could be utilized, and for this reason I have shown a change in the alignment of the Southern Pacific tracks, whereby the crossing over the lagoon is eliminated by a new location around its eastern end. It will further be observed that inclosure (B) does not contemplate the development of the lagoon beyond its present limits, but since the coastal dunes are apparently of beach sand and not hard earth, I have shown in dotted lines, inclosure (A), an ultimate extension to the westward which would very materially increase the scope of the project. Attention is also invited to the fact that when the breakwater is extended, as it must some time be, so as to virtually inclose the bight of the Monterey coastal crescent, the opening from Laguna Grande Del Ray to the ocean may be enlarged to its full width if deemed desirable.

5. The surf on the beach at the site of the proposed mouth of the lagoon development was exceptionally heavy at the time of my visit, and I was informed that this condition exists virtually throughout the year. The beach from Santa Cruz southward to a point approximately 1 mile south of the mouth of the lagoon is sand. From thence to Point Pinos and beyond, the shore line and the sea bottom is rock, principally granite or granite bowlders. As nearly as can be ascertained from residents, there is a drift or set around the shore line of Monterey Bay from north to south, and this induces more or less of a sand shift from the upper beaches and from Salinas and other sandbearing rivers. In general the shore line is marked by high sand dunes. As an indication of the rapidity with which banks and bares may be formed, I was told that after heavy rains, when the lagoon is full, there are times, say once in every three or four years, when the lagoon waters force an outlet to the sea, and that within 30 days of the emptying of the lagoon a new sand dam is formed, ranging from 10 to 15 feet above mean sea level. To afford protection from surf and to minimize the formation of entrance dams, a necessary feature of the proposed development is a rather extensive flanking breakwater as indicated on both inclosures (A) and (B). The length of this breakwater is approximately 4,500 feet, and is open to the southward. It is understood that at one time there existed a Federal appropriation of $800,000 for the construction of a breakwater at Monterey Harbor and that this was supplemented by a State appropriation of $200,000 for the same purpose. I am also informed that both of these appropriations have either lapsed or been diverted to other purposes and are no longer available.

6. From consultation with local interests I gather that the development of the lagoon is a matter of importance to the inhabitants of Monterey as providing

(a) The city of Monterey with the beginnings of a harbor for the shipment of such back-country produce as can be induced to route through Monterey.

(6) A still-water basin for the important growing fishing interests.
(c) A source of city or private income in water-front rentals.
(d) A substantial increase in the value of adjacent land.

I am also impressed with the fact that the inhabitants can not finance the proposition themselves and have tried a number of times in the past to secure Federal aid through the War Department appropriations for rivers and harbors. They now hope to secure this aid by pointing out to the Navy the advantage to the service of having a submarine and destroyer depot between San Pedro and San Francisco.

7. The desirability to establish a torpedo craft depot at Monterey is one which must be decided by military officers. In discussing the matter I will only invite attention to the fact that if established it will lie 90 miles south of the Golden Gate and some 322 miles north of San Pedro. Assuming that its establishment will prove a matter of interest to the Navy, I have taken some pains to go into the past history of the project as set forth in War Department documents and as given verbally by local interests, and I am impressed with the fact that the burden of the cost will have to be borne by the Government. I do not recommend that the total cost be borne by the Government, but feel sure that the city of Monterey will find it difficult to raise a greater sum than can be justified as a business proposition on the basis of cannery rentals actually in sight, probably not in excess of $400.000.

8. In order that my report might be as complete as its preliminary nature permitted, I suggested to the chamber of commerce the propriety of furnishing me some sort of written assurance that the land desired by the Navy would be donated free of cost, and there is attached hereto inclosure (D), a communication from the chamber's secretary giving this assurance. This was based upon my statement that, while I was not in a position to commit the Government in any way, a tract 1,000 feet long by 600 feet deep adjoining the old line of the railroad on the north side of the lagoon would, in my opinion, satisfy the Navy's needs. I based my estimates of Navy land area upon

(a) The assumption that with San Francisco Harbor only four hours' steaming distance, the Navy's requirements at Monterey at most would be met by a depot of very minor character.

(8) The assumption that the lagoon will constitute the entire harbor of the city, and that therefore there must be left a sufficient water frontage for commercial purposes to earn a return on the city's investment.

9. On one point, namely, the title to the actual area of the lagoon as it exists and as it is proposed to develop it, I was not able to secure satisfactory data. I am informed that there are no less than seven claimants to this property, all but one of whom are willing to sign a quit claim if the property is developed as a city harbor. The remaining claimant it is understood is willing to sell his rights for $10,000 and that the chamber of commerce will see that this is purchased without charge to any Federal appropriation which may be applied to this project.

10. After making such investigations as my orders permitted concerning local market prices for material and labor, I estimate the cost of the entire project indicated in inclosure (b) as follows: Estimate for submarine and torpedo craft base at Laguna Grande Del Rey, Monterey Bay. (a) Improvement outer harbor:

Breakwater 4,350 feet in length, 1,016,000 tons rock, at $2. $2,032, 000
Bulkhead in outer harbor, 2,600 linear feet, at $100...

260, 000
3 piers in outer harbor, 100 by 600 feet, 180,000 square feet, at

314,000 Dredging in outer harbor, 113,000 cubic yards, at 15 cents.


2, 623, 000

(6) Basin development exclusive of proposed naval depot:

Dredging, 3,120,000 cubic yards, at 15 cents.
Railroad relocation and belt line, 250,000 cubic yards, at 40 cents.
Track, 13,000 feet..
25 commercial piers, 50 by 150 feet, 187,500 square feet, at $1.75.

468, 000
100, 000

58, 500 328, 000

954, 500

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