Stanford
OCTOBER 21, 2014
Visualization
Morgan's Bay Holdings, 1930
Morgan's Bay Holdings, 1930

Authors: Gabriel Lee, Alec Norton, Andrew Robichaud, and Matthew Booker

Mapping bathymetry against property allowed us to understand the relationship of ownership and oyster habitat over time. The maps presented here are not illustrations of historical speculations or conclusions drawn from documents. Rather, they serve as evidence in their own right and have led to a new set of conclusions about oyster production and bay ownership and speculation. Morgan Company held a monopoly because it controlled oyster habitat. But as time passed, Morgan also speculated in property, buying pieces of the Bay that held little productive value, but which might have had strategic value as the Bay became a site for railroads, pipelines, and uses that made bay ownership profitable in other ways. Morgan came to see the Bay less as a productive space and increasingly as an opportunity to speculate, where ownership of a key piece of real estate could offer large returns.
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Spatial History