Tiburon Net Depot file photo [31938]

Tiburon Naval Net Depot

Type   265 Navy Base
Historical Name of Location   Tiburon, California, United States
Coordinates   37.890527000, -122.446760000


ww2dbaseThe waters at the east edge of San Francisco Bay's Tiburon Peninsula are ideal for deep draft ships. First to take advantage of this were William Lynde and Howard Hough who bought 56 acres of a large dairy farm in 1877 and built one of the largest fish canneries on the Pacific coast for packing Alaskan cod. They sold out to a larger canning company in 1904 and the United States Navy quickly acquired the property.

ww2dbaseWith the location's ability to wharf battleships, the area was developed into the Navy's first west coast coaling station. In 1908, when President Theodore Roosevelt sent the Great White Fleet on their around the world cruise, sixteen battleships and their escorts all fueled up at the Tiburon Coaling Station before heading across the Pacific. During the 1930s, most naval ships were converting to oil and it was not feasible to convert the coal docks to oil docks, especially since John D. Rockefeller's 1902 Standard Oil Richmond refinery was directly across the bay from the coaling docks.

ww2dbaseThe Navy loaned a portion of the Tiburon yard to the State of California for the state's first nautical training school. This school was later moved to nearby Vallejo and became the California Maritime Academy. During the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in the 1930s, the John Roebling and Sons construction company staged some of their operations for spinning cables at the site.

ww2dbaseAs threats to the Pacific coast and the San Francisco Bay Area escalated in the late 1930s, the Navy returned the entire Tiburon yard back to Navy use and opened it as a Naval Net Depot. The depot was tasked with producing steel cable anti-submarine nets and steel ring anti-torpedo nets that would protect not only San Francisco Bay, but all important harbors on the west coast. Over the course of World War II, more than 10,000 tons of steel cable netting were produced at the Tiburon Net Depot along with all of the floats and pontoons needed to suspend them.

ww2dbaseSan Francisco Bay itself was protected by a four-mile boom net from Sausalito to the San Francisco Marina 1.5 miles inside the Golden Gate Bridge. Not only was the net constructed at the Tiburon Net Depot, but the ships that tended the nets and buoys operated out of the depot for the duration of its four-year operation.

ww2dbaseWartime expansion of the facility in 1942 absorbed nineteen acres north of the depot that had also been used by the Roebling corporation during bridge construction. Even before that, from 1877 to 1893, this area had been a gunpowder factory with two large brick buildings with double-thick walls. In World War II, the Navy used this space for a Floating Drydock Training Center Annex, where thousands of sailors learned the techniques for ship repair in forward areas. At war's end, the Annex became a processing center for the servicemen returning to the United States aboard the many ships of Operation Magic Carpet.

ww2dbaseThe Tiburon Naval Net Depot continued operations after the war until closing in 1958 when the property was transferred to the Department of Commerce. Since leaving Navy hands, the location has been home to the National Maritime Fisheries Service's Southwest Fisheries Center, Minerals Management Technology Center, and the Tiburon Marin Laboratory. In the 1960s, the Navy announced plans to use the property to test missiles but critics successfully argued that the surrounding area had become too populated (mildly ironic since the surrounding populated area was dotted with several US Air Force Nike missile sites at the time). In 1975, San Francisco State University acquired the old Net Depot and today it is the site of the Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies. The former Floating Dry Dock Training Center became the Paradise Beach County Park, where the areas initially leveled for the 1877 gunpowder factory are occupied by parking lots.

United States Navy
United States Army Corps of Engineers
United States National Park Service
Belvedere-Tiburon Landmark Society
California Military Museum
San Francisco State University
Marin County Fire Department
Sausalito Historical Society

Last Major Update: Apr 2022

Tiburon Naval Net Depot Interactive Map


Schooners bringing Alaskan cod anchored off the fish cannery in Tiburon, California, United States, 1890s. The cannery location would later become the Tiburon Navy Net Depot.United States Navy coaling station, Tiburon, California, 30 Apr 1908. Note that the Navy caption refers to the area as California City, a briefly used name for the neighborhood.United States Navy coaling station, Tiburon, California, 1930s.John Roebling and Sons Construction Company spinning cables for the Golden Gate Bridge during the bridge’s construction, mid-1930s. The cable spinning took place at the former Navy coaling station, Tiburon, California.
See all 16 photographs of Tiburon Naval Net Depot


Excerpt from the 1942 United States Army Corps of Engineers map of San Francisco Bay showing the Kaiser Richmond Shipyards at Potrero Point and the Tiburon Naval Net Depot across the bay north of Bluff Point.Excerpt from the 1947 United States Geological Survey map of San Francisco Bay showing the Tiburon Peninsula. Note the Tiburon Naval Net Depot on the northeast shore.National Park Service map of World War II harbor defenses for San Francisco Bay, 2015. Note the location of the Tiburon Naval Net Depot in the upper right.

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Modern Day Location
WW2-Era Place Name Tiburon, California, United States
Lat/Long 37.8905, -122.4468
Tiburon Naval Net Depot Photo Gallery
Schooners bringing Alaskan cod anchored off the fish cannery in Tiburon, California, United States, 1890s. The cannery location would later become the Tiburon Navy Net Depot.
See all 16 photographs of Tiburon Naval Net Depot

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