:: UrbEx Series :: Drawbridge, CA :: part 1
Welcome to Drawbridge, CA.. one of Northern California’s few remaining ghost towns
Station Island was the home of Drawbridge, a small piece of land between two waterways, Mud Creek Slough and Coyote Creek Slough. The first building, was the bridge tenders cabin, built in Drawbridge (1876) for narrow-gauge Southern Pacific Railroad, and the second structure, Gordon Gun Club in 1880. In 1887 the railroad officially named the stop Drawbridge. A sign was placed on the bridge tenders cabin station formally recognizing Drawbridge.
George Mundershietz, was the first bridge tender of Drawbridge, and he stayed in the only structure on Station Island, a two-room cabin, just a few feet back from the track. He opened the drawbridge by hand crank, when boats blew their whistles to pass through the sloughs.
It was George who first started inviting his friends to spend the night at his cabin to hunt & fish. He charged them 50 cents a night for this privilege.
The railroad would stop to drop off, or pick up, exuberant hunters. This area was extremely popular with foul hunters. One method of hunting was purported to be very advantageous – loading a canon with chains, nails, buckshot, etc. and firing into the air as mass amounts of birds flew overhead; this “Market Hunting” allowed huge amounts of birds to be killed at once — which could then be taken to San Francisco to be sold.
By 1906 Drawbridge had grown to 79 cabins and two hotels. In 1926 Drawbridge was in full bloom with 90 cabins and 5 passenger trains a day. But by the late 1920’s tremendous amounts of water was being pumped by surrounding communities from the Southern portion of the bay, and like its neighbor, Alviso, Drawbridge began to sink. The railroad and the cabins were in constant need of “heightening”.
part two of this series — click here.