Mare Island Island

Sponsored by the Vacavolks club, the Mare Island Flyway walk was held in conjunction
with the 14th annual San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival. The festival, and the walk, were based at the former Mare Island Naval Shipyard, the U.S. Navy's oldest installation in the Pacific. The island was named for one of General Vallejo's horses. A number of the General’s horses were being ferried across the Strait from the Contra Costa shore to Benicia, when the crude barge capsized. Weeks afterward, one of horses, a white mare, was discovered grazing on the hillside of the island across the channel from Vallejo. From that day, the island was known as “Mare’s Island,” shortened to Mare Island.

The walk started at the Flyway Festival in the Expo building, then went along the riverfront to the industrial area of the shipyard. It went by the museum ship, LCS 102 - the smallest seagoing warship the U.S. Navy ever had. The ship is important because it is the last example of 130 identical vessels used as landing support and air defense ships in the Pacific. The LCS 102 served in the last naval campaign of the war in the invasion of Okinawa. The walk then went on past the Art Ship. After serving with the US Navy, she was commissioned in June 1971 as the T.S. Golden Bear, then sailed on 28 major ocean cruises over 24 years. The Golden Bear was decommissioned in 1995 and placed in the reserve fleet. In 1999, the City of Oakland, California purchased the ship and renamed it Art Ship as part of a failed art colony project. The walk continued past many vacant buildings, massive cranes and the overhead crane tracks used in ship and submarine building through the 1960's. The walk continued on and through the military cemetery. The additional 2K walk continued up around the radio tower and to the Spirit Ship - commemorating the ships built here. The return walk went past St Peters Chapel. St Peters Chapel is now the oldest continuously operational chapel in the Navy. Dedicated in October, 1901, the chapel is non-denominational and houses the most Tiffany stained-glass in a single site in the west. The walk then continued on past the impressive houses of Officer's Row.

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