Grand Tour.9-Escaping To Treasure Island

Do not fear loyal reader -The Grand Tour (Recession Version!)  continues, after a brief hiatus. To recap, we have made our way south from the Golden Gate Bridge,to the south bay, and back up to the through East Bay. Part 9 takes us to our second island on the tour: Treasure Island. Here’s the route:map

As most know, Treasure Island is a man made island, linked by a causeway to the the “natural” Yerba Buena Island, through which millions of us have passed through on  arriving in San Francisco .The impetus for its creation was the hosting of the 1939-40 World’s Fair.

Being held as it was at the end of the 30’s; the World’s Fair  perhaps unintentionally marked the wind down of the glorious deco/moderne period in American architecture, a period of highly-stylilized and geometrically chiseled building facades and sculptural figurines. There is currently a show at the Presidio Officer’s Club that has some outstanding photos, guidebooks, and maps commemorating the 70th anniversary of the fair. Here’s a few remarkable excerpts.

towerofthesun

1939-guide

The World's Fair- buildings to lower right still exist
The World’s Fair- buildings to lower right still exist
The promenade to Pacifica-goddess of the fair
The promenade to Pacifica-goddess of the fair
Pavilion buildings with moderne sentries
Pavilion buildings with moderne sentries

The plan at the time of the island’s inception was  to host the Fair, and then turn the island into the main bay area airport. But the navy offered  a land swap to the city, for some of their land on the penisula, (the future SFO). Treasure Island thus became a naval base, and stayed that way until it, along with the Presidio, were decomissioned in 1996. The island is part of the city of San Francisco, and while the Navy has not yet officially handed over the island, it functions as part of the city. It is home to about 1,500 residents housed in former naval housing, along with the Treasure Island Job Corp, and a film studio. There are very few services on the island, and public transit is limited to one Muni bus line- the trusty 108- that connects it to the city.

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