Vignette 262 > Causeway to Silva Island

Since 1956, the crossing of Richardson Bay from Manzanita to Strawberry has been an elevated six-lane bridge.  It replaced a four-lane drawbridge made of redwood logs the construction of which in 1930 had involved dynamiting away the west side of Silva Island. Much earlier, sometime before 1910, Walter J. Bartnett had built a spacious residence on top of the island. The 360° view must have been spectacular. It was the only house on the Island.  Access was by way of a long causeway from Manzanita. In order to allow for ship traffic to and from Mill Valley, the causeway had a gap in it. A long road from the dock up to the house followed a circuitous route designed to facilitate the transport of construction materials up to the house. Walter Bartnett’s commute to his office in San Francisco involved walking down the road to the dock, rowing a small boat across the gap, walking across the 1000 ft.- long causeway to Manzanita, boarding the train to Sausalito, and taking the ferry to San Francisco. In 1919, the house went up in flames, reportedly creating a spectacular blaze. Today, 32 condos have replaced the Bartnett home.