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Established as a commercial shipyard in 1870, the Navy made an initial purchase of portions in 1939. It was completely acquired by the Navy 11 days before Pearl Harbor. Subsequently known as Hunters Point Naval Shipyard (HPNSY). The Navy kicked out 100 civilian families from 86 private homes and 23 businesses with a 48 hour to 2 week move requirement. As of the mid-1950s it employed 8,500 civilians. The Navy’s Radiation Defense Laboratory and Pacific Reserve Fleet units were also located there. After ceasing active operations in 1974, The Navy retained the shipyard as one parcel, and a ship repair company signed a lease as a master caretaker tenant. Substantial site degradation occurred during this period. In 1980 several of the buildings were leased out to artists and the area became known as "The Point". In 1986 the ship company closed.
In 1870 John Burnell purchased the land to gain the rights to the natural spring water beneath it. He built the Albion Ale and Porter Brewing Company using stones which may have been aquired from ships ballast. Later he built the Albion Water Co. next door to sell bottled spring water. The Ale Company ran until 1919 when prohibition put an end to it. The buildings fell to ruins. Adrien Voisin, a sculptor and artist, purchased the property and restored the buildings as a studio and home in 1933 (Albion Castle).
The Golden Gate Railroad Museum
The Museum opened on Hunter's Point on February 10th 1990. A hands-on museum they encourage people to take part in restoration efforts on site. Their pride is steam engine 2472 a fully restored and functioning locomotive. The museum lost it's lease this year and has closed to the public. 2472 remains at the museum until a new locale can be found.
Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard
In 1999 it was estimated (and testified to) that it would take $300 to clean up the site. In 2000 the Navy estimated it to be $266 million. As of 2002 the Navy proposed a $105 million clean-up that has left the shipyard a toxic dump site with asphalt and buildings above.
The Point houses 250 artists. It is one of the largest artist communities in the country. Twice yearly they open their doors free to the public as a studio show.
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