St. Joseph's Cut, now Delta Marina Yacht Harbor and originally part of the Joseph Bruning estate in the early days of Rio Vista, has long played a vital part in the life of the Delta. The cut was formed in 1912 when the United States Engineers erected a levee on the south side, extending far out into the river. This was necessary because of the severe floods of 1907 and 1909 which caused high water in Rio Vista for many months. Before bridges were built in this area, a boat was a necessity to farmers on the river. Here in the Cut, barges and boats of all description were moored by farmers who frequently had to transport sheep, cattle, and work horses to ranches on the main islands in the Delta. A slaughter house stood on the south bank for many years and at times the water was so high that a large river steamer could not come in and discharge livestock. This area, a great hunting spot, and a famous fishing hole, beloved by old-timers, called "Picayune", existed for years and was generally crowded with fishing scows at any time of the year. On this side of the Cut, grazing cows and the Joseph Bruning home were all that occupied the entire river frontage in this section. Eventually, the Bruning home was remodeled and turned into a boys military academy. St. Joseph's, well knows throughout Northern California, was moved after many years to Belmont. Rio Vista itself was touched by the magic of the Big Four of early California when the Crocker, Hopkins, Stanford and Huntington interests leased river frontage and Main Street (then called Wharf Street) up to Front Street, where river water often was deep enough for small boats to anchor. The Big Four used Rio Vista as a stopping point for shipping from the hills of the Mother Lode to the busy docks of San Francisco.
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