Driftwood has changed over the years ....


Driftwood hasn't always looked like it does today ....

Aerial Shot of Driftwood

1935 was a banner year for beginnings:  the first canned beer was sold; Bob Hope was first heard on network radio as part of "The Intimate Revue"; the China Clipper (flying boat) took off from Alameda, carrying 100,000 pieces of mail for the first ever trans-Pacific airmail flight; Parker Brothers launched the board game Monopoly; and Ozzie Nelson married Harriet Hilliard.  Another couple, though perhaps not quite as famous, purchased the first six and a half acres of property of what is now Driftwood Marina.  Guy and Sophia Miller saw the potential and bought the second six acres sometime later.   The Millers started digging the harbor in 1936 and aptly named it Miller's Harbor.  The harbor was dredged in three sections.  The first one in about 1936, the second one in about 1938, and the third and final section dredged in about 1950.

Guy was a welder by trade, commuting every day from Antioch to Oakland, working for Laura Scudder. Guy’s salary helped finance the dream of Miller’s Harbor while wife Sophia saw to the bookkeeping.  Being a family operation, son Richard 17 and daughter Bernice 15, helped both Guy and Sophia with the day-to-day operations.  Sadly, Guy died in 1941 at the age of 51 with only part of the harbor finished.  Not letting the dream perish, his wife and children continued building and planning.  Guy’s daughter Bernice married Bob Lee in 1946 and Bob enthusiastically joined the Miller family in running the harbor. Bob specialized in building row boats and sometimes rented his creations to help support the family.    A brand new shop was built in 1946 and C.L. Stuart worked for Miller's Harbor  in the shop repairing boats for local fisherman.

Millers Harbor

In 1955 Sophia sold the harbor to C.L. Stuart who renamed it Stuart's Harbor.  Stuart did little to change the harbor and just a few years later, sold it to Earl and Louise Cooper and their son and his wife Bob and Jean Cooper.  The Coopers gave it its present name of Driftwood Marina.   Earl and Louise built their house out near the river while Bob and Jean resided in the former home of Bob and Bernice (Miller), adding two bedrooms. The Coopers tore down Sophia’s old home and the rental house that was near it.  

While under the Cooper’s ownership, Driftwood was dredged out to its present size and most of the current sheds were built.  The blue metal building was built for Inland Marine Service who also rented the fist two berths next to it - one open and one covered berth.  Bob Lee and his daughter Linda Robinson worked for Inland Marine Service - Linda until 1971 and Bob until 1981.  Jess Melgoza rented the next covered berth for refinishing boats.  

The Coopers also ran the marina as a family business with Jean doing the bookkeeping while Bob and Earl saw to the running of the harbor.  In 1975 Linda Robinson went to work for the Coopers taking over the bookkeeping and billing duties, working from her home in Brentwood.

Just before the Coopers sold the harbor in 1979, Bob Cooper had been building a new home that would one day serve as the clubhouse for Driftwood Yacht Club.  Marinas International purchased the harbor in 1979 with Leo Turrin acting as manager.  Leo ran both Driftwood Marina and McAvoy Harbor in West Pittsburg.  Troy Andrews joined as harbormaster and he and his wife Vivian moved into Earl and Louise’s former home out near the river.  The house that Bob and Bernice built served as the harbor office.  Linda Robinson stayed on as bookkeeper, working sometimes from her home and sometimes from the harbor office in what was once her old bedroom!  When Linda was asked to keep McAvoy's books as well as Driftwood’s, Vivian Andrews, harbormaster Troy’s wife, started helping with the bookkeeping as there was always much to do.

In 1983 the harbor was purchased by Key Lease.  The new owners built a new h`arbor office and Bob and Bernice’s house was torn down.  The unfinished house that Bob Cooper was building was finished and made into a clubhouse by the Driftwood Yacht Club.  Stan White and Joseph Ficzere were the next two gentlemen to serve as harbormaster.

Some things from the old days weren't captured in photographs (or, at least not that we've been able to find!). Here's a crude map shonwing some things not in the pictures.

Missing Stuff

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