Devine called out something like "Steamboat comin'" and there would be a blast from a steam whistle. And Devine did a quick talk about the development known as Discovery Bay, for affluent, active people who liked to live on or near the water.
There was "Discover," a houseboat the developers brought to Discovery Bay as part of their slogan "Discover Discovery Bay." Prospective buyers and investors were given a tour of the site while floating around on the houseboat, Jorgen Lunding remembers. Lunding, now a San Rafael resident, was a development partner in Discovery Bay's embryonic stage, and the engineer who designed the town nearly 40 years ago.
But somewhere over the years, that houseboat morphed into the steamboat that appears on the community's logo. Several incumbent directors thought that the houseboat was photographed with a paddlewheel superimposed and that was the origin of the logo.
"From what I remember, the paddle wheeler that the Hofmann Company used in the early '70s was a fake," said Dave Piepho, president of the Community Services District board. "I think it was some kind of houseboat dressed up as a paddle wheeler."
Virgil Koehne, district general manager, recalled hearing that the logo bore the image of that houseboat.
"Absolutely not," said Lunding. Yes, there was a houseboat at Discovery Bay, but it came along after the logo.
About 1968, when Lunding was preparing to submit design plans to the county, the developers held a contest to name the subdivision. "I got credit for it, but actually someone in accounting won," Lunding admitted.
Lunding couldn't recall precisely who conceived the steamboat idea, except that the logo was drawn by an artist influenced by the artwork for Pier 39 in San Francisco.
Interestingly, the logo boat does resemble some of the old riverboats that plied the Delta during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. With the exception of the Delta King and Delta Queen, two mid-20th-century stern-wheel excursion boats, none of the Mississippi River-style packets worked in the Delta, according to several maritime histories of the Delta.
Koehne, who builds radio-controlled model boats as a hobby, said he has been looking for a model paddle wheel boat he could assemble and display in his office.