Point Isabel was named for Victor Castro's favorite daughter, Isabel. A boat house stood at the point from which passengers were ferried to various places along the San Francisco Bay. The land was hilly and there was a nice sandy beach on the north side; also clam beds. There were buckeye trees and later eucalyptus trees.
Later railroad tracks were put in on Central Ave, running out to Point Isabel from the Southern Pacific mainline. Dynamite was hauled out and stored there. Barges pulled into the Point to load as they had a wharf protruding out into the bay. The Vigoret Powder Works (E. I. du Pont de Nemours Powder Company) was located there. The office was in San Francisco.
A train came from the north every Tuesday and delivered gunpowder for the ammunition companies. Boats came in and picked it up. A man named Watson was in charge. This man had no legs and had to be carried around on the foreman's back. The foreman was Anthony Pangrezio. He started work there in 1925.
The San Pablo Avenue Sportsman's Club leased Point Isabel for many years. They built wharves, repaired roads, and remodeled the powder house for a clubhouse. They had a caretaker who occupied the Watson house. They also built small lockers for the members to keep their fishing and hunting gear in. It was an ideal location for picnicking, hunting, fishing, etc.
During World War II the Navy took over part of Point Isabel as well as the Albany racetrack. They put in a rifle range and only people with permission and club members were allowed on the Point.
In 1947 the State Department of Public Health issued an order making it unlawful to dump raw sewage into the bay so the Stege Sanitary District purchased a site there. The disposal plant later was built. It was built on property formerly used by the E. I. du Pont de Nemours Powder Company and was southeast of the KLX radio towers near the former San Pablo Avenue Sportsman Club.
Stege Sanitary District had an easement for the disposal plant and gave TEPCO Porcelain permission to dump broken pottery there, as they needed fill. [Editor's Note: this is likely what is referred to today as "TEPCO Beach".] Later the rest of the point was sold for development and the land was leveled. There are now some commercial buildings and a park there. [Editor's Note: the Southern Pacific spur was removed sometime after WWII. When Santa Fe Land Development leveled the hills there and redeveloped the area, the Santa Fe Railway ran a spur to the commercial buildings.]
Copyright Mervin Belfils, October 1975
PO Box 304, El Cerrito, CA 94530