pahavit (pahavit) wrote,

Oliver Salt Works

Oliver Salt Works, 4-11-09

On a clear, cool and very windy Saturday last week, D. and I went to Eden Landing Ecological Reserve in Hayward to go on a tour of the historical Oliver Salt Works. Led by Bay Planning Coalition executive director (and amateur archeologist) Ellen and Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge ranger Jennifer, we got a chance to go into areas of the Reserve normally closed to the public and see the historic salt work site (now in ruins). Begun by the Oliver Brothers in the 1850s as a series of solar evaporation salt ponds, it became part of Leslie Salt in 1931, which itself became part of Cargill Salt in 1979; now it's all surrounded by the salt marshes of Eden Landing Ecological Reserve, which are in various stages of being restored to their original state, increasing valuable habitat for endangered waterfowl, shorebirds and fish.

I took the following pics:

Here we are.

High-tension lines stride across the marsh.

One of the high-tension towers has solar panels on it. 

Rusty pipes.

A view down the slough.

A view across the marsh.

The Coyote Hills are visible across the salt pond.

Wispy clouds in the sky.

An abandoned desk chair rusts beside the salt pond.

What's left of the abandoned salt works.

Pilings stretch out into the slough, remnants of wharves.  Shallow draft schooners used to dock at the wharves to off-load goods and take on harvested salt, then sail back up the Bay to San Francisco.

The last piece left of some busted cement equipment.

The ruined foundation of some structure.  It was built on pilings going deep into the San Francisco Bay mud.

A few remnant electrical poles poke up from a levee separating salt ponds.

A broken porcelain electrical insulator makes a half-moon in the mud.

Those Oliver brothers put pilings everywhere.

Lunching dunlins wade in the salt pond.

Those X's lying on their sides right of center are Archimedes screws.  Before the advent of electricity, salt companies used wind power to move brine from one salt concentrating pond to another.  Dozens of these wooden-sailed devices were used in San Francisco Bay salt ponds from about 1820 to 1930, when they were replaced by electric pumps.

Historical pic (pdf file)
Restored Archimedes screw at the Cargill Salt plant in Newark CA pic, taken by the kite aerial photography guy

A crust of golden lichen grows on an abandoned structure.

Pilings on parade.

Yep.  Lotta pilings.

Exposed to the elements for decades, nothing escapes corrosion and eventual disintegration.

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D. took the following pics:

Utility poles recede into the marsh.

Ellen, who led our tour.   She has researched the Oliver Salt Works extensively.

Slough near the head of the trail.

We did not go far enough to see Whales Tail.

Salt pond.

Poles and pilings.

Ruined equipment in an old tank

Salt pond, Santa Cruz Mountains in the distance to the west.

A levee between ponds.

More pilings and poles.

A section of a rusted metal tank.

Structures rust away, disintegrating easily in the salty environment.

Those Oliver Brothers put pilings everywhere.

A bone, probably a seagull's.

Tags: archimedes screw, bone, eden landing ecological reserve, field trip, hayward, levee, lichen, marsh, oliver salt works, rust, salt, salt pond, slough
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