History of Transportation near Milpitas

Milpitas is best known for the Ford factory that made the classic Mustangs. Silicon Valley was once the terminus for the Transcontinental Railroad, too. On this page you can find out more about the fascinating role this area played in the history of transportation for the region and the world.

Mustangs in the parade

Lots of Mustangs in the parade as these cars were once made at the Ford Factory in Milpitas.

Pick your favorite means of transportation!
Shipping & Port History


Blackhawk Automotive Museum
A ‘hands off’ collection of cars that were museum pieces right from Day 1 and a collection of fine art that has the automobile as its subject.
3700 Blackhawk Plaza Cir, Danville, CA

The Great Mall holds a great Ford secret
Ford’s Milpitas Plant is now a shopping center known as The Great Mall. It was the birthplace of the Skyliner hardtop convertible, entry-level Edsels, and the three generations of Mustangs (including all of the 1965-67 cars that would become Shelby GTs). And today this former factory still has a secret hidden within its retail walls. Rather fun to read the comments, too.


Hiller Aviation Museum
A collection dedicated to man’s concept of flight. Museum exhibits highlight the many historic advancements native to Northern California, and show how technologies resident here today will shape the future of air transportation. San Carlos.

The Jet Age Video produced in 1962 by W.A. Palmer. Showing construction of the South Field Oakland airport.

Oakland Aviation Museum
The Museum’s facilities are located in a vintage hangar at Oakland International Airport’s historic North Field.

Silicon Valley Pride: Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport
Compared to San Francisco and Oakland, San Jose was slow to even acquire land for an airport; barnstormers and the like used the private fields surrounding the city.


Bridging the Bay
The bridges documented include the Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, the Carquinez Bridge, the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, the Antioch Bridge, and the Dumbarton Bridge. The exhibit also contains documents detailing Bay Area bridge projects that were seriously considered, but were never built.

Impossible – The San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge
The distance was too great, the tides too swift, the Bay too deep-and the bottom of the Bay was mud and silt, unsuitable for anchoring piers, but they managed to build it anyway.

The New East Span of the Bay Bridge
The replacement of the East Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is the largest, most visible and challenging public works project Northern California has seen in decades.

Symphonies in Steel: Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate
Within the 450 square miles of landlocked harbor, San Francisco Bay has eight major highway bridges, including four of the world’s greatest steel bridges, as well as two railroad bridges. By John Bernard McGloin, S.J., Professor of History, University of San Francisco.


History of Railroads in California
History of the California end of the Transcontinental Railroad, and other historic trains and historic railroads in the San Francisco Bay Area.


CA Department of Motor Vehicles History of CA DMV
Essentially, Californians were anxious to police motorists and protect themselves with a formidable barrier of “rules of the road.” The secretary of state was empowered in 1905 to register and license motor vehicles.

The History of Traffic Signing in California
The early days of motoring in California were an adventurous ordeal. Most routes were unmarked, not paved, and traffic signs were basically nonexistent.

History of I-680
70.5 miles from I-80 near Fairfield, south through the Diablo Valley, and ending at US 101/I-280 in San Jose. The Pleasanton-San Jose commute is now the South Bay’s most congested, because of increased residential development in the Pleasanton Area leading to jobs in Silicon Valley.

History of I-880
44.70-mile Nimitz Freeway; from I-280 in San Jose to I-80 in Oakland. On the Spanish news stations, the name is contracted to “Ochochenta.” Named after WWII admiral Chester W. Nimitz.

Lincoln Highway History
The Lincoln Highway was established in 1913 as the first highway across the United States. Unlike the highways of today, the Lincoln was very narrow, unpaved in many places and not straight as an arrow. Route in California.

Santa Clara Valley Mill & Lumber Company – 1870’s
The demand for firewood and building lumber by the citizens and towns of the Santa Clara Valley produced a road over the summit from Saratoga to the San Lorenzo Valley in 1870.

Shipping & Port History

The earliest use of Alviso Slough as a shipping port was recorded by John Henry Dana in his book “Two years before the Mast.” Mission Santa Clara shipped cowhides and wheat during the 1830’s.

History of Vallejo Ferry Service
In 1986 Marine World/Africa USA moved to a spacious new location in Vallejo from Redwood City. San Francisco tour boat operator, Red & White Fleet began a ferry service to Vallejo and bus service carrying commuters to San Francisco in the morning and bringing visitors to Marine World during the midday and on weekends.

Maritime Heritage Project
As long as there have been floating vessels, mariners have found safe harbor in San Francisco Bay, beginning with the first people in the Americas thousands of years ago.

Port of Oakland History
Home base for Jack London’s sailboat Razzle Dazzle and his fellow teen-age “oyster pirates.” His favorite saloon, Heinhold’s First & Last Chance, still stands today at Jack London Square. First port to renovate for container shipping. Cranes inspired huge waling robots in Star Wars movies.

Port of San Francisco History
Born out of the Gold Rush, today’s Port of San Francisco is a public agency responsible for managing the 7-1/2 miles of San Francisco Bay shoreline stretching from Hyde Street Pier in the north to India Basin in the south.

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