This webpage is being created to keep you
informed about USS OAKLAND MAINMAST.
The installation of the USS Oakland mainmast,
nameplate and plaques, will be finished by December 2001
May 4, 2000
Mr. Robert Benjamin
Mr. Paul Henriott
Mr. Mike Brock
Subject: Relocation of U.S.S. Oakland Mainmast, Nameplate, and Commemorative Plaques
I am writing to update you on the current status of the U.S.S. Oakland mainmast, nameplate, and commemorative plaques and to make you aware of both the interim and long-term plans for their safekeeping and display in an appropriate setting. As you know, these artifacts were installed just outside of Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon on the Jack London Square waterfront in November 1965. They were removed from this location last year, as part of the renovation of the Jack London Square Marina, and were stored in a Port of Oakland storage yard at the foot of 5th Avenue, in Oakland. Since their removal from the Jack London Square location, the Port of Oakland has received several expressions of concern about the security of the maimnast, nameplate and plaques and their lack of access to the public while a new long-term location is being created for them in Middle Harbor Shoreline Park. I am hoping this letter will alleviate these concerns and also elicit your help to ensure that the people of Oakland can continue to know and appreciate the history of the city's namesake, the U.S.S. Oakland.
All of the artifacts associated with the U.S.S. Oakland have been retrieved from the 5th Avenue yard and are stored together in a secure location at building D-511 on the former Naval Supply Center site in anticipation of their re-installation at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park. As you may know, the park will be located on the site of the former Oakland Naval Supply Depot, on the city's western waterfront, with beautiful views of the Bay and the San Francisco skyline. The base was determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district by the Navy, and as such received special consideration prior to redevelopment. Unfortunately, cargo transportation technology has improved to a point that rendered all of the structures on the base obsolete and incompatible with modern intermodal transportation methods, which means all of the buildings and structures have been demolished. We have, however, an extensive historical mitigation program to compensate for the loss of these resources and have retained many artifacts from the base, which will evoke the history of the site when installed in the park and interpreted for the public. As the programmer for the historical interpretive component in the park, I am delighted to obtain the U.S.S, Oakland mainmast, nameplate, and plaques for the park. Such important and significant artifacts from World War 11 and the Pacific theater will add considerably to the historical interpretation of the area. The park designers have chosen a prominent location for the maimnast, at one of the entrances to the park. I have enclosed an artist's rendering of the Point Arnold area, indicating where we intend to place the Oakland artifacts. The Port anticipates that construction of the Point Arnold area, including the installation of the U.S.S. Oakland mainmast, nameplate and plaques, will be finished by December 2001. At that time, we plan to hold a gala event to open the first phase of the park to the public.
My colleague, Barbara Hawkins, and I have been in consultation with City of Oakland staff to find an interim location at which some of the artifacts from the Oakland can be displayed and interpreted, along with an indication of when the mainmast, nameplate, and plaques will be installed at the park. We have been offered a display case inside the lobby of City Hall for this purpose. This case is approximately 2.5 feet high by 5 feet wide by I foot deep. We are planning to make a replica of the handsome plaque designed by Mr. Benjamin and use it as the centerpiece of this exhibit. The reason for using a replica in the City Hall display instead of the original plaque is that we are unsure at this time how to remove the plaque from the concrete it is bonded to without damaging it. A replica will allow us to put the display up soon and carefully research the best method for removing the plaque from the concrete. We can then install the original in the park while the replica is still on display in City Hall.
We would like to enlist your help with the other materials we are hoping to find for the.exhibit at City Hall, and later in the park. Do you have a scale model or a good photograph of the U.S.S. Oakland? Do you have any snapshots of the Oakland's crew (then and now)? These items can be copied at the Port's expense and then used in the exhibit to provide a well-rounded interpretation of the historical significance of the ship, and, especially, of the sailors who served on her. I have visited the U.S.S. Oakland website online, and am impressed with your dedication to the preservation of its legacy. Any assistance you can offer will be greatly appreciated.
If you have any questions or comments regarding this matter, or any assistance you can render, please feel free to contact me at (510) 627-1297.
cc: Barbara Hawkins, Justin Horner
| 530 Water Street | Jack London Square | P.O. Box 2064
| Oakland, California 94604-2064 |
The scanning isn't to good but it is better than nothing. There are 3 points of interest
USS OAKLAND mast, main vehicle entry, and the existing flag pole and anchors.
This Web Page was created and
is maintained by Paul D. Henriott
Last Updated 15 July 2000
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