How the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Bay Model Saved Us from a Mad Developer
To read all about how you can take visit the Bay Model Visitors Center in Sausalito, please c;lick here. Admission is free.
The video below from KQED (with great historical footage) reveals the motivation for the creation of the Bay Model here in Sausalito: The need back in 1953 to test the “Reber Plan“, an initiative inspired by cold war military fears and cynical real estate speculation.
This dates back to an era when school children regularly participated in emergency drills to hide under their desks in the event of an atomic bomb blast (yes, really).
In the video you hear a 1950’s narrator talk about the need for new ways to evacuate San Francisco after it’s been hit by atomic bombs (yes, really).
How to save everyone? By creating new escape routes across the Bay!
But the Reber Plan wasn’t really about getting people out of the Bay Area. It was about filling in shallow areas to reduce the Bay’s area.
The plan called for filling the Bay to create more land for developers, diverting more water to Los Angeles and increasing property values for insider real estate speculators.
Fortunately for us, the Bay Model proved that the plan would be an environmental and economic disaster.
If it had been built, the Reber Plan would have turned the northern and southern arms of the Bay into evaporation ponds, and killed the central Bay when it lost its supply of fresh water.
Thanks to the Bay Model, they decided that instead of killing the Bay they’d prefer to kill the Reber Plan!
Below: The Reber family Christmas card was designed to tout the plan, but to modern eyes its focus on filling the Bay for developers is glaring: