Lot 90 of 539:
Legal brief on title to Yerba Buena Island, S.F. Bay  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$390
$600 - $900

Title to the Island of Yerba Buena, in the Harbor of San Francisco. A Brief (wrapper title)

Hillyer, Curtis J.


J.L. Pearson, Printer



11 pp. 22.5x14.3 cm (8¾x5½"), original printed wrappers. First Edition.

Argument that the island of Yerba Buena, once known as Sheep Island, now the fulcrum of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, was a portion of the public land of the United States, not belonging to any individual or municipality. Signed in type by Curtis J. Hillyer, attorney OCLC/WorldCat lists only two copies, at the University of California Berkeley, and in the Library of Congress.

The present booklet is quite significant, because in 1870 (just after this publication appeared) the title of the Yerba Buena Island was finally determined, and the construction on the island was actually started. This is earliest official publication about the Yerba Buena Island. It is preceded only by an 1866 “Abstract of the possessory title to the island of Yerba Buena in the harbor of San Francisco”.
The idea of a military post on Yerba Buena Island originated during the Civil War, when it was feared a raiding Confederate warship could slip past Fort Point and Alcatraz Island during a foggy night. It was not until 1868 that Company D, Battalion of U.S. Engineers was officially (but not physically) established on Yerba Buena Island, with the plan to provide gun batteries in defense of the San Francisco Harbor but the batteries were never built. In 1870 the post was still unfinished but included two large barracks, three officer's quarters, a guard house and hospital. Company D, Battalion of U.S. Engineers was still at the post with an average strength of 116 men still engaged in the construction of the post. 
The engineers departed in May 1871 and the post became US Quartermaster Depot, Yerba Buena Island manned by elements of the 2nd US Artillery. In May 1873 the military garrison was reduced to a small detachment and 13 civilians were hired. In 1873 Navy Road and North Gate Road was completed, including a fog signal and octagonal lighthouse called Yerba Buena light (1875) that remain today at the end of Hillcrest Road. The small detachments continued to man the post until the last post return 11 July 1878. 

Lot Amendments

Wrappers a little soiled and worn, light stain to top margin; contents darkened and somewhat brittle; very good.

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