History of Bay Point, California
From: The History of Contra Costa County, California
Edited by: F. J. Hulaniski
The Elms Publishing Co., Inc.
Berkeley, California 1917


IN CONNECTION with his great lumber interests in Oregon and California, C. A. Smith during the summer of 1907 began an investigation of the possible sites on San Francisco and adjacent bays for the establishing of a much needed manufacturing and distributing plant for his product. Three essentials had to be considered - proximity to railroad lines for shipment of the forest product, deep water for his vessels that brought the raw product from the mills, and proper drying conditions for lumber. After much investigation, the Contra Costa County shore and Suisun Bay was decided upon as most attractive. The present site of Bay Point was then ranch land and tule bog. Smith, with a companion, went over the district afoot, and in crossing the fields now occupied by the town site was held up at the point of a gun by one of the owners of the property as a trespasser and ordered off the premises. Naturally, he complied with such moral suasion.

However, the attractive site and suitable location for his purpose was settled in his mind, and shortly thereafter he became acquainted with the owners of the property he coveted. On November 26, 1907, a deal was made with the Cunningham heirs and those of A. H. Neeley, conveying to Smith's interests about fifteen hundred acres and a mile and a half of tide water frontage, now Bay Point. This land, while originally a part of a Spanish grant, had been patented to the antecedents of the Cunninghams and Neeleys by General Grant when President of the United States.

On part of this tract was immediately established the Bay Point plant of the C. A. Smith Lumber Company, and a strip 2658 feet wide on tidewater, extending back to the foothills, was reserved for the town site, officially designated on the filed plats as "The City of Bay Point." The transcontinental tracks of the Southern Pacific Company and the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company divide the town site into practically two equal parts. That portion between the railways and the bay was set aside for manufacturing sites, and the portion between the railroads and the foothills of Monte del Diablo was immediately platted as the town proper, the idea being to provide a site for the homes of the employees of the C. A. Smith Lumber Company.

At the time of the purchase the property that later became Bay Point consisted of a postoffice, a grain warehouse, a ranch house, a saloon, and a general store. Before long it began to grow, and today it has a population of about one thousand people. The town has a ten thousand dollar graded school and a number of excellent stores handling groceries, meats, drugs, hardware, general merchandise, and in fact everything necessary in a community of this kind. There are two churches (Congregational and Catholic), with another (Lutheran) about to be built. Here in the shadow of Monte del Diablo, where rail and water meet, are the neat and happy homes of hundreds of contented citizens. The Club House and office building of the C. A. Smith Lumber Company are notable for a city of the size. Streets, curbs, and sidewalks are established and a sewer system is completed.

The water supply is provided by four wells, each one hundred feet deep, located in the foothills one and a half miles from the town. The water is pumped from these wells to two large tanks upon the hill back of the town. The bases of the tanks are from seventy to ninety feet higher than the town, and the water is distributed by gravity at good pressure.

In disposing of the town property, the C. A. Smith Lumber Company put into the deeds a clause forever preventing the sale of liquor; so Bay Point until recently had no saloons. Owing to the activities of "bootleggers" and "blind pigs" the liquor question became a serious one to the citizens. After a conference, the company consented to put a saloon upon its land not included in the liquor restrictions and turn the whole business over to a club of the citizens of Bay Point as a municipal saloon as soon as it had paid for itself. This was done May to, 1916. This arrangement makes Bay Point unique in the family of cities, and has brought her much note from political economists and sociologists the country over. The municipal liquor business is being watched with interest by many people. In the conveyance of the saloon to the club of citizens provision has been made that all profits from the business shall be used for the benefit of all the people of Bay Point; and further, that the sale of wines and liquors shall be conducted in such manner that the cause of temperance will be legitimately promoted. As a result, the traffic in liquor has been lessened, drunkenness done away with absolutely, and new sidewalks, streets, and improvements are planned and under way which will make the town a model village at no cost to the taxpayer.

Bay Point is admirable as a manufacturing site, and will undoubtedly in the future be a strong rival of other San Francisco Bay cities in the manufacture of Pacific Coast products.

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