• The author at the former home of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, now hovered over by parts of the Bay Bridge. What was once a relaxing porch to enjoy views of the San Francisco Bay today has the hum of constant traffic. — Photo by Christine Granados

Local hero connection to our family vacation

Our family recently decided to “get away from it all” with a trip to California, but we also found a connection to our hometown hero.

We traveled to the San Francisco Bay area for vacation. We found the old stomping grounds of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz via an exit off the Bay Bridge which stretches from San Francisco over to Oakland.

Nimitz died on Treasure Island, which is grouped with Yerba Buena Island. (“Yerba buena,” or “good herb,” was the Spanish name for the mint plant found in abundance in the area. It would likely take on a different connotation these days.)

The giant bridge is far from the most famous in the area. The Golden Gate, complete with the remains of its military bunker on its northern connection, has that distinction. The Bay Bridge leapfrogs from downtown San Fran to the island to Oakland. It’s an amazing structure, but one that I’m sure Adm. Nimitz would be glad he didn’t have to deal with in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Bay Bridge and its connections on and off the island form a minor spaghetti bowl of highways just above the house where Adm. Nimitz lived out many of his last days. His home sits in a wooded part of the island, which adjoins the Treasure Island Naval Base. It appeared there was lots of renovation going on with the island homes and they are certainly due. One hopes they fix them up and let the public see where this World War II hero resided from after the war until his death in 1966.

Nimitz as a young man, historians wrote, first sailed to the Far East out of San Francisco. His naval career took him all over the globe, even studying diesel engines in Nuremburg, Germany (where his German came in handy). He was promoted to lead efforts in the Pacific after Pearl Harbor was attacked. His strategies and corralling of personalities under him are the stories of legend.

 

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