The History Behind Battle for the Bay: The 1970s

Battle for the Bay, our new online quiz, lets you Save The Bay by defeating 6 levels of ‘villains’, one for each decade of our history. Last week, we told you the story behind the Santa Fe Railroad Company’s bay-fill project that prompted Save The Bay’s founding in the 1960s. This week, we take you to the age of disco and another scheme to pave SF Bay…

1970s – The Rockefellers





David Rockefeller wanted to fill the South Bay with the top of San Bruno Mountain.





In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, David Rockefeller funded a scheme by the West Bay Communities Associates – Crocker Land Co., Ideal Cement Co., and investment banking firm Lazard Freres & Co. – to fill and develop an area of the South Bay as large as Manhattan. This was to be done along 27 miles of the San Mateo County shoreline. There was to be industry, residences, restaurants and more. All together, the development plan included 10,169 acres.

Crocker Land Co. owned San Bruno Mountain (map), so the plan was to chop off the top of the mountain, using the dirt to fill the Bay, while using the leveled mountain for additional real estate development.

Along with local allies and the State Lands Commission, Save The Bay took the plan to court and – after nine years – successful negotiations ensured a major victory against this massive development. While the bay-fill plan was scrapped, there have continued to be threats to San Bruno Mountain, requiring groups like San Bruno Mountain Watch to continue efforts to protect and restore the area.

Next week: The 1980s.