This Saturday’s Maritime Day celebration at Sausalito’s Galilee Harbor honors well over a century of boatbuilding and other ‘working waterfront’ activities on that site, at the foot of Napa Street.
According to local historians, thirty years after the Gold Rush, Italian fishing families could be found there building felucca fishing boats. By the turn of the 20th century, a pier had been build to accommodate both fishing craft and liveaboard barges that were used as vacation getaways by wealthy San Franciscans — and as emergency residences after the Great San Francisco Earthquake in 1906.
During WWII Navy barges were built there in quick succession, while liberty ships were built nearby. In more modern times boatbuilding and repairs continued, with many shipwrights living on-site aboard their vessels. Artists were also attracted to the area.
When developers made a move to transform the area in 1980, residents got political and formed a non-profit corporation to buy the property outright. After 18 years of haggling with various agencies, the tenants received permits to build a legal liveaboard marina specifically aimed at providing low-cost housing to artists and maritime workers — thus preserving one of the last remaining elements of Sausalito’s ‘working waterfront’ tradition.
Current tenants include boat-builders, sailmakers, marine canvas workers, writers, artists, and actors. On Saturday, you can meet many of them, see the results of their talents and help them celebrate Galilee Harbor’s maritime roots.
In addition to exhibits and demonstrations, there’ll be live music all day, dinghy races, good things to eat and drink — including homemade pies — plus a silent auction and flea market. Big fun, and all for free, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For more info click here or call (415) 332-8554.