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The fogs of San Francisco Bay constitute an element that must be considered when it comes to questions of navigation, and in regard to questions of safety of lying at anchorage. The fog, gentlemen-I may say, everybody who is well informed, which description excludes for this purpose the people of Los Angeles—knows that the fog is one of the particular assets of the San Francisco Bay region. It is the fog which tempers our summer heat and makes the San Francisco peninsula one of the very best summer resorts in America. It is the fog that gives a large part of their brilliant complexion to our women, which makes their beauty so famous the world over. And it is the fog also which gives to our men much of the “pep” that is making itself more and more manifest, even in the national councils.
Now, the fog, while it is an asset, is, when it comes to navigation, an element to be considered. And I ask whether or not a place right alongside of a ferry fairway is a better location for a Navy base in that regard than the place down at San Mateo where there is less fog, on account of the greater barrier between the bay and the ocean, from which most of the fogs come. Across the peninsula here it is 15 miles to the ocean, over mountains 2,000 feet high. There is a mountain right in here 2,000 feet high [showing], I ask whether that is not an element of safety? At San Mateo there is isolation for ease of movement, quickness of movement, cheapness of movement; isolation for protection in days of foggy weather. I will leave that factor of "safety first” for your further consideration in that regard.
Now, gentlemen, with regard to another feature. To say anything that savors of comparison with the Alameda site is certainly distasteful to me, but it is the comparative merits of these locations that will determine finally your choice, and it is necessary to point out, especially when findings are made, to show alleged superiority of one over the other, that there is no superiority in this respect over the San Mateo site. I want to point out something in regard to this San Mateo land itself. Alameda's land is offered to you for nothing. San Mateo's land is offered to you for nothing. And I want to say briefly, just enough to justify me in saying it, that a large part of our offer, being public property of the State of California, is exactly on a parity with the Alameda offer. The Alameda people said that their land was worth $50,000,000. They were presenting to the Government, they said, a gift of $50,000,000. am not taking a bit of the laurels away from Alameda to which it is entitled when I say that the title was in reality the State of California's property, and that for the same reason and for the same purpose that Alameda got authority from the State to give those tidelands to the United States Government, San Mateo is in a position to ask the legislature at its next session in January for authority to make a similar gift of State tidelands at San Mateo for a similar purpose, and will probably receive, and will undoubtedly receive, the same answer. All these tidelands between highwater mark and low-water mark—and that is what we mean by tidelands--all those lands were given to the State of California by the United States Government.
Mr. BRITTEN. Mr. Dwyer, I think the committee_understands all that quite thoroughly. It does not make any difference whether the Alameda site is worth $500,000 or $50,000,000 or $500,000,000. You are tendering it, just as they are tendering it, to the Government free of cost, and what difference does it make?
Mr. DWYER. You are quite right about that. I would make this point, that if, economically, it is worth $50,000,000, and the site which we offer you is economically worth less than $1,000,000, then there is an economic waste, all other things being equal, of $49,000,000 in taking the Alameda site.
Mr. BRITTEN. Oh no, it is not a waste, because you get the land for nothing
Mr. DWYER. But you destroy just that value.
Mr. BRITTEN. I do not want to seem discourteous, but it is getting along in the direction of 12 o'clock, and there are four or five other gentlemen who want to be heard, and it seems to me that these obvious matters, matters which the committee thoroughly understands, need not be dwelt upon in your presentation.
Mr. DWYER. I will wind up by touching upon housing conditions.
Senator BALL. As chairman of the committee, I would like to state that the committee is composed of business men, and if you present your own advantages, I think we will be able to discriminate, so far as the presentation of the advantages of othersites is concerned.
Mr. DWYER. I have stated our advantages in every respect now except with respect to housing conditions, and we come again to an expression that was made unfavorably against the San Francisco side of the bay with regard to housing conditions. I just want to point out that that does not apply to San Mateo, because it was not before the commission, and that a half hour or an hour's examination of the housing conditions and the climatic conditions about the proposed San Mateo site, including San Mateo City and Burlingame and Hillsborough and the immediate vicinity, will show that the housing conditions on the San Mateo Peninsula are absolutely ideal. There is an immense amount of land, hundreds, thousands of
acres, in the immediate vicinity of the proposed site, that could be improved to-morrow with workingmen's cottages, at very little expense. The land is cheap, it is absolutely level, and the working force could live within walking distance of the works.
Mr. BRITTEN. In other words, if the base were established at San Mateo, the housing conditions there are such that there is enough land to accommodate the building and housing for anybody and everybody!
Mr. DWYER. Yes. We want you to be satisfied about it. We were not able to take you personally to the site, and we would like, before vou leave, to finish by asking that you inspect this proposed site and see the conditions. Right back of this site, these building lots are there, vacant and ready, now used for farming, but they can be gotten very cheap, indeed, for building purposes.
The climate of San Mateo I need not dwell upon. If Senator Walsh were called upon, he would tell you that formerly the miners in the intervals of their hard work up there in his country, before they made their pile, would dream of coming down here to live and have a good time in San Francisco and then spend the rest of their time recuperating in San Mateo. Some of the moist delights of San Francisco may have been withdrawn, perhaps for years and perhaps forever. If they are, all right. But the recuperating properties of the San Mateo . district are still available, and growing better and better all the time. The climate is still there, and we invite an inspection and examination in that regard.
I want to ask leave to file a report covering some particular facts that we think are pertinent to the presentation of the San Mateo site, as reported by A. W. Lasher, our engineer, and to say that when the site is selected our community will cooperate with the others in pushing the thing to completion. We want to see the time come when there will be a sailor in every home in San Francisco, either in the Navy or in a great merchant marine, and we would like to see the flag of our country floating over the port of San Mateo.
(The report of Engineer A. M. Lasher is as follows:) REPORT ON SITE PROPOSED FOR A NAVAL BASE ON WATER FRONT OF San Mateo,
SAN FRANCISCO BAY."
This site is located on the west shore of San Francisco Bay, 9 miles south of Hunters Point, about 25 miles from the Golden Gate, along the water front of the city of San Mateo, and on the same peninsula with San Francisco. Pacific Ocean shore line is 15 miles due west, and between the site and the ocean is a range of mountains from 1,500 to 2,000 feet high.
The plane of reference is mean low water. The range between mean lower low water and mean higher high water is 7.48 feet, with extreme range of 10 feet.
The average elevation of the bottom which is to be filled is 00. With a fill to plus 12 feet it will give an average fill of 12 feet.
The bottom consists of soft blue clay and sand mixed with shell, which is first-class material for making a solid, compact fill which will dry out quickly, and is easy to dredge to approximately 28 feet. Below this depth it is harder blue clay and sand to approximately 45 feet, under which is hard yellow clay and sand which has sufficient bearing power for supporting piles to their limit for foundation of wharves and buildings. The average length of piles will not be over 40 feet. These strata are impervious to water and will make first-class foundations for dry dock and other structures.
At minus 225 feet an unlimited supply of fresh artesian water can be developed. Thirty-one wells in the near vicinity are flowing 10,000,000 gallons daily, which supply near-by towns and part of San Francisco.
The distance from shore line of this property to the natural bay channel, 40 feet in depth at mean low water, is approximately 2 miles. This channel is unobstructed to deep water at the Golden Gate, with the exception of about 6 miles in the channel between Hunters Point and this site, which has an average depth of 28 feet at low water. By dredging the 6 miles of chaạnel 12 feet deeper and 1,000 feet wide it will allow vessels of maximum draft to pass through to deep water unobstructed and give safe and unlimited anchorage.
The cost of this dredging should not be regarded as an extra cost of the site, but should be charged to the necessary reclamation of the submerged lands taken for the site, the spoils from the dredging being used for the fill. The land areas for the proposed Alameda site are also wholly a reclamation project. Hunters Point is mainly so: Reclamation by the dredging process is far cheaper than grading down neighboring hills at any proposed site. This channel will not fill up, as no silt deposits in this section of the bay.
The bay channel opposite this site is 1 mile wide and over 40 feet in depth. A turning basin 9,000 feet wide can be developed here in the reclamation of the submerged land. It has deep water and a good bottom for anchorage, which is not in the traveled channel.
It is beyond the storm-driven waters of the bay, and practically free from erosion by wave action, and also from silt deposits. A very small amount of redredging will be necessary; therefore, the cost of maintenance will be less here than in other places on the bay, where frequent dredging has to be done, and untreated piles have to be renewed every few years.
Abundant #at lands for aviation fields are in the immediate vicinity.
The climate around San Mateo is delightful and one of the best around the bay. This part of the bay is not subject to as much fog and wind as other parts of the bay, because of the mountain barrier to the west.
San Mateo and the adjoining towns of Burlingame and Hillsborough are beautiful suburban districts, intimately connected with San Francisco, well laid out, with paved streets, water, sewers, and light. Sanitary conditions are the very best.
Several thousand acres of fine building lots are between this property and San San Mateo proper, which will provide ample housing facilities at a low cost, and will be within easy communication with this tract. It is about 20 miles by rail to San Francisco, and trains run every hour, in 40 minutes. Rapid electric cars and regular motor buses also run every 15 minutes.
If a naval base is built at this point, the municipality of San Mateo will furnish right of way for track connections with the Southern Pacific Railway, which is about 17 miles from this property.
This is a main southern Pacific transcontinental line. One branch of it goes east by the southern route along the coast, and the other crosses the bay of San Francisco to the eastern shore across the Dumbarton Bridge, located about 10 miles south of this site.
This site would enjoy the same terminal rates as other proposed sites on the bay.
The main power line of the Great Western Power Co. crosses the westerly end of this property and can supply an abundance of electric power at a low rate, which is a big asset in the cost of developing this project, and for future use. Fuel oil can be piped to the site The Hetch Metchy power will soon be available for this site.
An unlimited supply of artesian water can be developed on the property. The Spring Valley main, which is the San Francisco supply, runs about 3 miles west of property, and the Hetch Hetchy main line to San Francisco is projected, and will be about 21 miles west. Both would supply this site.
The cost of development will be much less than in any other part of the bay district, or on the Pacific coast, on account of the shallow depths of good supporting ground for foundations, the cheap power, the easy dredging material, the proximity of space for dumping spoils, and the shallow depth of fill.
Rocky formations on this site afford ample foundations for building graving dry docks.
The cost of developing, as compared with other naval base projects of the Helm Commission report, on San Francisco Bay, is as follows: Dredging channel, filling 1,000 acres of submerged land, and building 10,000 feet of wharves.
$9,500,000 Two dry docks...
11, 664, 000 Machinery and equipment. Railroad tracks, streets, and sewers..
Total..... No bulkheads, sea walls, or breakwaters are necessary, as the currents are not very strong at this point and are nearly free from erosion and silting:
This project can be developed in units, as the demand calls for. Supporting data, which will verify any of these possibilities, or any data contained herein, can be furnished at any time.
From the property offered, a site consisting of 2,500 acres of land to be filled and 700 acres of water for docks, wharves, and turning basins can be developed at a cost which is comparatively as low as other sites offered. The maintenance will not bt as great as that of the other sites. An absolute certainty of hard bottom for dry-dock and other foundations, cheap supply of fresh water, unlimited and unrestricted anchorage, unlimited chance for expansion, fine climate, cheap power, and the best environs are among the many advantages offered by this site.
Value of land to be acquired is not over $250 per acre and all of it is held in very few large holdings and can be very quickly acquired.
A naval base located at this point will develop San Francisco Bay for commercial purposes without extra cost to either. This development is needed and is as essential in time of war as a naval base itself.
A. W. LASHER, Engineer. Mr. McCURDY. Mr. Chairman, we have with us Congressman Arthur M. Free, Congressman elect from the eighth district, and we would like to have you listen to a few words from him in closing San Mateo's case.
Mr. ARTHUR M. FREE. Gentlemen, I realize that your time is limited here and I do not want to take more than a moment in closing for San Mateo. I simply want to thank you for your consideration of this site, and I would like to bring to your mind one thing I have not heard brought out in any of these hearings, and that is, that at times, owing to the condition of the soil, over which the Southern Pacific passes, the freight coming from the North is unable to pass and has to be diverted by way of Stockton and comes over the Dumbarton cut-off, just below San Mateo, and really makes this end of the bay a rail terminal in times of bad weather and times when the conditions are such as I have described, so that the freight from the East has to come that way.
I would ask this consideration of this committee for San Mateo and for myself, that on Sunday, as you are going to take a trip to Senator Phelan's, and then on to Monterey, and hence will go down through the beautiful Santa Clara Valley, the richest valley in the world, you stop off at the San Mateo site. I have just been thrown into this congressional turmoil, not as an aspirant myself, but put into it and elected, not, however, to take office until the 4th of March. But there are some big commercial institutions in the southern end of this bay requiring commercial development that will have to be presented to Congress. The site that you have had presented to you here to-day is about five minutes off the main line, down which you will go on Sunday, and, I repeat, I ask that you give that five minutes and ride down to the site so that you may see that right and that I may point out to you some of the features of the southern end of the bay in order that you may have that in mind when you are considering the whole subject.
I thank you for your consideration and will take up no more of your time, hoping that I may see you on Sunday morning as suggested.
Mr. McCURDY. That completes San Mateo's case, and we wish to thank the committee as a whole for your kindness in listening to these points.
Senator BALL. We have with us this morning Admiral Hugh Rodman, upon whom I intended calling after all of the hearings, my preference being that his statement should come last in the record. He informs me he has other engagements and will have to leave shortly, and therefore I am going to ask the admiral to make his statement now, if he will kindly do so.
Admiral Hugh RODMAN. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I have not prepared a statement, as I would have done had I known previously that you would prefer to have me submit a written state