Webster Street Bridge (c. 1908) 1

The Webster Street Bridge (1871–1928) was a swing bridge over San Antonio Creek (now known as the Oakland Estuary), between Oakland and Alameda. It was used until the opening of the Posey Tube. Construction of the bridge was initially authorized by California pursuant to a bill passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor on April 4, 1870, the same day the Legislature and Governor approved the incorporation of the Town of Brooklyn. 7

The original Webster Street Bridge was 1000 feet long, with a draw span of 200 feet, and was completed early in March, 1871 at a cost of $25,000, shared jointly by Oakland and Alameda; it remained in service until 1898, when the federal government ordered it to be replaced by a larger and more modern design. 5

original bridge - William Ingersoll 6

On May 30, 1890 the bridge was the site of the Webster Street Bridge disaster, a tragic railroad train accident which killed 13 passengers.

On January 30, 1898, John Raddich was walking across the bridge and was struck and killed by a passing train. 3

In 1912, the bridge tenders complained to the board of supervisors that many "autoists" (automobile drivers) were failing to stop for the warning gates. 4

On January 7, 1926, the bridge’s central span was hit by the steamer Lancaster and destroyed.2 Even though the Posey Tube was by then under construction, the bridge was rebuilt – only to be sold two years later to Sacramento County:

“On November 30, 1928, just one month after the opening of the Posey Tube, Alameda County auctioned the Webster Street Bridge, (980 feet long, steel, swing-span rim-bearing type, cantilever construction) to Sacramento County for just $3,100. The bridge had been erected just 2 years earlier at a cost of $134,000. 1

”While the tube was being built, a ship rammed into the Webster Street bridge and caused it severe damage, making it unusable. With no crossing at Webster Street, the merchants along Webster Street suffered an immense loss in business — and so the Webster Street Bridge was rebuilt — even as the tube was being constructed.”1

Webster Street Bridge, Oakland Estuary (c. 1919) 1

Links and References

  1. Webster Street Bridge - Alameda, CA AlamedaInfo.com
  2. Traffic to Alameda Diverted Following Bridge Destruction, Berkeley Daily Gazette January 8, 1926
  3. Killed by the Cars Los Angeles Herald January 31, 1898
  4. Draw Bridge Gates Fail to Stop Autoists San Francisco Call August 13, 1912
  5. Oakland, 1852-1938 : some phases of the social, political and economic history of Oakland, California. Editors, Edgar J. Hinkel, William E. McCann ; published by the Oakland Public Library as a report of official project no. 465-03-3-337, conducted under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration, 1939, p.54.
  6. 19xx.108:190 UC Berkeley Bancroft Library Collections
  7. California State Assembly Journal, 1869-1870, page 939 1869_70_jnl pages 939-940.pdf
  8. California Statutes 1869-1870, Chapter 471 1869_70 pages 757-759.pdf