July 24, 2007

Gate 5, Sausalito


click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Most everybody knows that Sausalito has houseboats (the ones you can see from the freeway), but what a lot of folks don't realize is that there are two types of houseboats -- the nice expensive ones to the northwest, and these funky ones at the Gate 5 Cooperative...

Not a very colorful name -- Gate 5 -- but that's what the Bechtel Corporation named it back in 1942 when they operated a HUGE shipyard in the area called Marinship, building Liberty Ships for the war effort... My Grandfather worked at Marinship, so when I visited the Jeremiah O'Brien, a Liberty Ship docked at Fisherman's Wharf, I had to tell the docents all about it... --Unusual for me to start up a conversation, but I did...


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5 comments:

photowannabe said...

Love these funky houseboats and their colorful siding.
Don, my Dad worked at Marinship too. He was conscripted to come from Minnesota to be a welder. He got housing in Marin City for my Mom and she rode the train out to live here temporarily...They both passed away in the Bay Area 60 some years later. So much for temporary...
I was born and lived in the marin City housing for the first year or so of my life.
Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

AphotoAday said...

Hi Photowannabe Sue,
Yeah, we had previously talked a little bit about, in your case, your dad -- and in my case, my grandfather having worked at Marinship...

I gave it away to a relative, but I used to have a really great book on the operations and history behind the shipyard... The book was full of great industrial shots, plus interesting stories written by the department heads about their experiences...

I understand there is a Marinship Museum located in the Bay Model building, but I still need to check that place out...

photowannabe said...

I didn't know there was a museum at the Bay Model. Its been years since I was there. Used to take cub scout groups there and my own kids too. Someday maybe I'll get back there.

Tomate Farcie said...

You know, these pictures trigger a lot of memories for me too. I didn't know the funky boats were still around! I went back through there a few years ago and the area seemed to have changed tremendously since I first saw it years ago.

The first time I went to Gate 5 and Marin City, there was still a fleemarket, and a pretty good size hippy community (?) near the water. Of course, the fleemarket closed down and was eventually replaced by some kind of mini-mall with a parking lot and a few so-called "affordable" condos across the street. I hate to say it but I'm not sure what they did around there is much of an improvement.

jefree said...

I moved to the main dock at Gate 5 in April of 1967 and lived there in several boats for several years. I admit they wre some of the best years of my life. I was going(barely)to SF State College, but was majoring really in LSD with a minor in Haight Ashbury. Some of the sweetest people were living on the boats at that time and you could knock on almost any of the free spirit boats and go in and become instant friends. My houseboat cost 75 dollars a month, a kilo of Mexican pot cost the same then. Up in the morning, row out ot anyone's boat and smoke a joint and get ready to go in and see the Grateful Dead or the Jefferson Airplane at Winterland or The Fillmore. Peace and love was in the air. Down at the Heliport, Quicksilver and the Dead, amongst others, had a rehearsal studio there and good sounds and the smell of good weed permeated the area.
Sometimes, we would go over to Jean Varda's(google him)boat The Vallejo, a rambling old Ferry boat he shared with Alan Watts. He would take us sailing on a Sunday on his Greek lateen rigged boat that was made out of an old lifeboat. We would sail madly all over San Francisco Bay. On these trips, there would be a couple hippies, an attorney type or two, a reporter, bank people, a real mix. Then we would come back to his place, make a big fire and Jean would come out with platters of buffalo wings and red wine.
The next day, you might go up Mt. Tam where it was okay to camp on back then, right on the mountian, and spend a day or two up in heaven. In june of '67. before Monterey Pop Festival, by about a week, they had the KFRC Magic Mountain Festival. I remembered stoned on Mescaline, listening to The Doors singing The End as I gazed out on the Pacific. They were in the Amphitheatre there. The best of times. And Gate 5 anchored it all. The flea market in Marin was running at full speed and the best people would show up there every Sunday.
Peace and love,
Jeffrey McMeans

 
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