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Mr. BRITTEN. Mr. Holmes, did I understand you to say that there would be more dredging at Hunters Point and at Alameda than there would be up here at Mare Island ?
Mr. HOLMES. Yes, sir.
Mr. BRITTEN. And where do you figure the base is to be laid up here-did you figure on Carquinez Straits ?
Mr. HOLMES. Yes, sir.
Mr. HOLMES. I made the original survey there myself in 1913, but I figure on Commander Cox's plans.
Mr. BRITTEN. Which one is that?
Mr. BRITTEN. Oh, I see what you mean. Were those plans gotten
Mr. HOLMES. I don't know.
Commander Cox. They were included in a report that was submitted to the Secretary of the Navy. I have no knowledge of what became of them afterwards.
Mr. BRITTEN. I am just trying to find out and determine on what Mr. Holmes bases his estimate of the amount of dredging necessary to be done as between Hunters Point and Carquinez Straits.
Mr. HOLMES. I base it on the strength of that model, and I know what Hunters Point is from having worked there and from the Helm plan.
Mr. BRITTEN. Is it possible to build another veneered dock at Hunters Point?
Mr. HOLMES. Yes.
Mr. BRITTEN. Have recent earthquakes affected the present docks at Hunters Point.
Mr. HOLMES. No, sir. But that all rests in the solid rock.
Mr. BRITTEN. Something was said yesterday along that line, Mr. Holmes, to this effect, that a dock built directly on stone, with veneer, such as you have there, would be more susceptible to earthquake than one built on piles. What is your impression of that?
Mr. Holmes. My answer to that would be just the same comparison as was made of the man in jail when his attorney told him they could
not put him in jail. The dock is still there, and it has been through several earthquakes, and even the chimney was not disturbed. The only effect of the earthquake of 1906 was, that on the upper end of that dock, that is, on what you would call the westerly end, was about a 40-foot fill, and that fill settled. In other words, the earthquake shook the earth down the same as you would shake potatoes down in a barrel or a basket, otherwise it didn't affect it. The chimney is slightly cracked, but it is there now.
Mr. BRITTEN. Are you quite satisfied of the fact that if a combination dock were built at Hunters Point, part on gravity, part on piles, and part as a veneer, that an earthquake would affect that kind of a dock?
Mr. HOLMES. I would not like to build it I would not like to guarantee it. I think that is poor construction, aside from the matter of earthquake. It is not considered good construction, part of it founded on piles and part of it in rock foundation.
Mr. BRITTEN. Then from what you have said, it is practically impossible, or really impracticable, to build another dock at Hunters Point ?
Mr. HOLMES. No; because another character of dock could be built on either side of the present docks, both north and south.
Mr. BRITTEN. That is a thousand-foot dock?
Mr. BRITTEN. So that Hunters Point is practically eliminated from this consideration.
Mr. HOLMES. If available land—if you could have the land owned at the present time by the Bethlehem Steel Co. and the land to the north, you could probably build two additional docks there, that would be well, while they would not be fully veneered docks, they would be docks resting on solid rock foundătion.
Nr. BRITTEN. The land to the north belongs to the State and to the county, does it not?
Mr. HOLMES. No; it belongs mostly to the same company that owned the old California dry dock. There is a little piece in there called "Dry Dock Basin" that belongs to the State of California. But it is very small.
Mr. Hicks. Is it not a fact, Mr. Holmes, that noted scientists and geologists all agree, and in fact it is printed in one of these hearings that we have, that a rock formation is less susceptible to earthquakes than any other formation?
Mr. HOLMES. I think I would rather have my house founded on a rock foundation, than otherwise, during an earthquake.
Mr. Hicks. I think that is covered very fully here.
Mr. PADGETT. You spoke about the dock at Hunters Point, Mr. Holmes, and you said part of it would be a gravity dock.
You mean by "gravity dock” a dock similar to the Pearl Harbor Dock? Mr. HOLMES. Yes, sir.
Mr. PADGETT. In other words, that it would be a floating dock, a little heavier than the water?
Mr. HOLMES. Yes, sir.'
Mr. PADGETT. Then the other part of the dock would be a permanent dock on the land ? Mr. HOLMES. Yes, sir. If you
will allow me Mr. PADGETT (interrupting). Here is one part of it, and here is the other [illustrating by drawing), and you have got the gravity part as the Pearl Harbor Dock that is resting on the water, and the other one is permanent construction in the land ?
Mr. HOLMES. Yes, sir.
Mr. PADGETT. I don't think that needs any argument as to not being advisable.
Mr. Holmés. I don't think so, either.
Mr. BRITTEN. Just at that point, and for the record-I recognize this gentleman's ability. Supposing a dock were constructed along the lines suggested by you, could not that be sufficiently tied by reinforced concrete so as to make it more or less impervious to an earthquake ?
Mr. HOLMES. I think in the case of an earthquake the reinforcement would not do much good.
Mr. BRITTEN. You don't think it would ?
Mr. HOLMES. No, sir. I know that at the time of the earthquake I was engineer of the harbor commission, or rather had just left there, and you could notice there was a decided difference. For instance, the Ferry Building itself rests on piles. The first fill back of that rests upon a pile platform, and back of that is a fill on the mud, and that fill is forty to fifty years old. But you could see the distinct line of demarcation between those different fills. In other words, of course the building moved not at all. The portion of filling on piles settled somewhat. The fill resting on mud settled anywhere from three to five feet below the level of the docks, showing distinctly the different effects. You understand that properly, Mr. Britten, that in the mud in front of the Ferry Building—there has never been any bottom struck. Wells have been put down as deep as 200 feet and exactly the same character of mud was found, except it was a little denser, and a foundation resting on piles depends solely on the skin friction of the piles in the mud.
Mr. PADGETT. From the borings that you made over at Alameda, did you get to a permanent, solid bottom for the piles to rest on, or would some of the piles have to depend on skin friction?
Mr. HOLMES. You might get something to hold your piling, but the question is, what is below that? We bored to about 150 feet.
Mr. PADGETT. You went to 150 feet?
Mr. PADGETT. You would have to have piles, though, going from the surface to that depth of 140 to 150 feet?
Mr. HOLMES. Yes; and below that.
Mr. HOLMES. Well, to be plain, Mr. Padgett, at the Alameda mole, and all through that country, you depend upon what you call skin friction piling. In some cases in the western Pacific mole there is some hardpan, but the most of it depends on friction of the mud around the piles.
Mr. PADGETT. Would it be advisable to rest a dock as heavy as this dock would be, and with the load in it, upon piles depending upon skin friction alone! Mr. HOLMES. That is what you have at Pearl Harbor now.
Mr. PADGETT. But that is slightly heavier than the water itself.
Mr. HOLMES. Yes, that is what this dock would be, the same type of dock.
Mr. PADGETT. At Alameda?
Mr. HOLMES. Yes. It is of the same type. There is another matter I would like to bring to the attention of you gentlemen, and that is the comparison that was made at the San Francisco hearing it may not be the proper place here, it may be that it should be made on Friday-the comparison of the cost of the Dock No. 2 at Mare Island and the Dock No. 2 at Hunters Point.
Mr. PADGETT. The one at Pearl Harbor was largely experimental.
Mr. Holmes. I am speaking now about the comparison in cost of the dock at Mare Island and Dock No. 2 at Hunters Point. They are identical, as to size.
Mr. PADGETT. Oh, I thought you said Pearl Harbor.
Mr. HOLMES. At the Mare Island Yard they had a similar experience with Dock No. 2 that they did at Pearl Harbor. The dock was started by the cofferdam method and was a failure. They spent something in the neighborhood of, I think, a half million dollars. Then there was a successful design made for a self-contained cofferdam, which is what they originally started at Pearl Harbor, where it was not successful. On the other hand, the dock at Hunters Point, Dock No. 2, is virtually entirely veneered, and there was no experiment there. I was there from the time it was first started to the date of its completion. There was but something like one-half of 1 per cent extras. In other words, there was no change in plans. So I claim that the comparison as to costs made between the Mare Island dock and the Hunters Point dock is not right. That is, in reality the Mare Island dock would not cost as much in excess of the Hunters Point dock. It would cost probably three times as much but not four or five times as much, as stated at the San Francisco hearing.
Mr. CURRY. Mr. Chairman, I think the committee is entitled to all of the expert testimony that we can present you here. I notice Mr. F. B. Smith, who constructed the Pearl Harbor drydock, and also constructed Dock No. 2 here at Mare Island, is present. The only reason I suggest him is because he can give you some information and possibly answer some questions that are in your minds. I would also like to call upon Capt. Ellicott and Commander Bowen. I want to state that Capt. George would have been here if he could, but he has sent word that if the Navy Department wishes to hear him in Washington, or if your committee desires to hear him in Washington, if you will ask the Navy Department to order him to Washington he will appear before your committee. And Capt. Bennett, who was also commandant of this yard for a number of years, is now sick or he would have been here. Probably if you wish to hear from him he can be called to Washington, and I am inclined to think you will have listened to all you care to before you get through. Let me ask permission, if any of these gentlemen send in a signed statement, to include it in this record.
Senator Ball. Under the circumstances there will be no objection,
(Thereafter Mr. Curry submitted the following communications for the record:)
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C., December 7, 1920. To the Joint Senate and House Committee on Naval Bases and Yards on the Pacific
Coast. GENTLEMEN: Inclosed you will find supplemental statements by Capt. Edward L. Beach, U. S. Navy, commandant of the Mare Island Navy Yard, and by Capt. J. M. Ellicott, U. S. Navy, and a statement by Col. E. P. O'Hern, U.'S. Army, commanding officer of the United States arsenal at Benicia, Calif , and a statement by Mr. William J. Mitchell on labor conditions at the Mare Island Navy Yard and on the Pacific coast, also a statement by Brig. Gen. William Mitchell, U. S. Army Air Service, which I hereby present for your consideration and to be included with and printed as a part of the hearings on the Mare Island Navy Yard and Carquinez Straits site.
These statements were made at my request in reply to certain arguments advanced in San Francisco after the committee had left Mare Island. Sincerely yours,
C. F. CURRY, Member Congress, Third California District.
Mare Island Navy Yard, November 22, 1920 Hon. CHARLES F. CURRY, M. C.,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: I have just received your telegram requesting my opinion on the latest objection which has been raised against the Carquinez Straits site, viz, that there is not sufficient deep-water area in front of the proposed base to maneuver with safety capital ships, and that therefore this site should be eliminated from consideration.
presume the idea has been advanced that a naval base must be situated in the immediate vicinity of a spacious maneuvering ground, where many of the greatest ships could be anchored; also that ships in fleet or squadron formation should be capable of being maneuvered in entering or leaving such anchorage ground; further, it has presumably been advanced that the above features constitute such an advantage to the fleet as to outweigh other advantages which have already been set forth for the proposed base at Carquinez Straits, where the anchorage ground is of less area. War conditions must govern. It appears that arguments have been advanced that these conditions imperatively demand the location of the proposed naval base in the lower San Francisco Bay rather than at Carquinez Straits.
It is my earnest belief that, considering the military features mentioned, these very conditions accentuate the advantages of the site for the naval base in Carquinez Straits; that these military considerations imperatively demand that the naval base should be in Carquinez Straits, and not in the lower bay.
Before touching upon these imperative demands, I would first wish to present you with undeniable and convincing and uncontrovertible farts, that there is no occasion either in peace or war, that the naval base should be in the immediate vicinity of an anchorage ground so spacious that a large number of ships may there be simultaneeously maneuvered. It is undeniable that there should be an anchorage ground, sufficiently spacious, to provide anchorage for all the ships that could ever be expected to be at the naval base, waiting to be docked or receive repairs or supplies. Such an anchorage ground should be sufficiently spacious, also, for ships to maneuver with ease and without danger of injury, in and out of dry docks, and of berths at wharves or piers. In this respect, Carquinez Straits provides a better, safer, more spacious anchorage ground than any other navy yard in the country. Further, the best evidence in the country, that of Admiral Rodman, stated that he would bring two divisions of dreadnaughts-eight ships--into Carquinez Straits.
As evidence that there is no reason that the naval base should be in the immediate vicinity of an anchorage ground so spacious that in it a large number of ships could be maneuvered, your attention is invited to be following:
“The United States Government has never yet, in a single instance, built a navy yard in the immediate vicinity of such a spacious anchorage ground.'
A navy yard must have a deep-water approach, and be provided with certain necessary features, such as water room for ships to maneuver in and out of dock, dry docks, berths, shops, security, and all the other requirements.
Further, in all the multitudinous discussions about what are the requisites for a first-class naval base, I have never in a single instance heard it proposed that to be immediately adjacent to a spacious anchorage where a large number of ships could be