When you think of a ghost town, you might imagine something out of a Western film, but there is actually a ghost town in the Bay Area. The town, called Drawbridge, has been abandoned for over 40 years and is slowly sinking into the bay. Located at the southern end of the Bay, just six miles south of Fremont, the town is situated on a small strip of marsh.
Drawbridge wasn’t always an abandoned town. Originally called Saline City, the town started as a singular cabin on Station Island in 1876 for the drawbridge operator. The small strip of land on the marsh saw as many as ten passenger trains a day going north and south.
Drawbridge soon became a popular weekend attraction, bringing many Bay Area residents every weekend. By 1906, the small town had 79 cabinets and two hotels for weekend travelers. The number of cabins grew to 90 by 1926, and in 1931, the town welcomed the arrival of electricity.
Even in its heyday, Drawbridge was never your typical town. Cabins were built on stilts above the marsh with wooden walkways, and instead of a main street, the railroad tracks ran through the town. Drawbridge attracted hunters and nature lovers due to the unique location, plus many partiers came to the town because of the lack of police. The town even had two neighborhoods, divided by north and south. The north side was populated mainly by seasonal visitors, while the south was home to more permanent residents.
Unfortunately, Drawbridge’s liveliness was short-lived. In 1936, the freshwater supply began to decrease, leading to fewer visitors and permanent residents. By 1963, there were less than 5 residents left. In 1979, the last resident, Charlie Luce officially left the town.
The town is now part of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge and is not open to the public; it is both illegal and unsafe to visit.