Oakland Wharf, Ferry Landing and Freight Shed, Oakland (circa 1860/1870) 1

The Oakland Long Wharf (aka Oakland Pier, aka Oakland Mole, aka Southern Pacific Mole, c. 1871–1958), was a ferry-to-train terminal in the middle of the bay. It represented the westernmost terminus of the first transcontinental railroad. It was a solid pier made from riprap and fill, extending far into the bay and ending in a giant wharf, where Central Pacific Railroad trains (later SP) on the Oakland side exchanged passengers and goods with ferries from San Francisco.

The Oakland Long Wharf was ceremonially retired in 1958 and demolished in the 1960s, the last traces of its earthworks being removed for fill elsewhere and to create more space for ship navigation. The pier’s switchman’s control tower was preserved however, and is in the museum at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park.

On April 14, 1981 the Southern Pacific Mole was designated Oakland Landmark #49, under Zoning Case #LM 81-42.

[More to come …]


  • Here are some photos I took that may help with more info - mk30
  • Yep, there was the Key Route Pier, the Key System Mole (historic), Southern Pacific Oakland Mole + Wharf (formerly the Central Pacific), the Western Pacific Mole, and SP had an Alameda Mole, too (see 1877, 1912 and 1936 maps here). - Gene
    • so the initial line indicates that this is the "oakland mole aka southern pacific mole." is the "southern pacific oakland mole" different? -gk
  • To help keep things straight, a mole is solid (no water underneath), and a wharf/pier/whatever generally refers to the (usually wooden) structure that’s built out from that over the water. - Gene

Links and References

  1. Society of California Pioneers