As tens of thousands of drivers zip — or sometimes crawl — over the Bay Bridge every day, a forgotten mansion rests directly below them. The three-story white home, impossible to see from the bridge, was once the last residence of America’s greatest modern admiral. And, for a while, it was the historic roadblock in the way of the Bay Bridge’s new span.
Quarters 1 was built on Yerba Buena Island in 1900 as part of the only U.S. Navy training station on the West Coast. It was home to the commander of the base and crafted to be appropriately opulent. Large windows framed expansive views of the bay and the East Bay hills beyond and filled the elegant foyer with light. There were plenty of bedrooms and bathrooms, plus a study, spread over its nearly 6,000 square feet.