Rosie the Riveter Museum & SF Bay Trail Walk - February 2019
return to index
On Sunday of President's Day weekend, seventeen of us met at the Rosie the Riveter Museum,in Richmond, Ca., for a look inside, followed by a walk on the San Francisco Bay Trail. The nearby section of the Bay Trail is the longest part yet completed, Rich said.
The walkers arrived around 10:30 am & headed to the Museum.
Rosie the Riveter was symbolic of the sudden entry of American women into the manufacturing workforce during WW II. Good paying jobs in US industry opened up not only for white women but also for non-white men and women, and for older people, too.
This was a first in America, a necessary first because of the immense labor shortage, once the Country's heavy industries mobilized for war on a gigantic scale.
After December 1941, with War declared against both Japan and Germany, most working age men enlisted & went off to fight, so the door to good-paying manufacturing jobs opened up, and older white men and younger white women, and, similar persons of other ethnic groups, were hired, to be trained in every aspect of ship-building. Women became welders or did heavy metal fabrication, or learned other industrial or scientific skills. Worker efficiency testing back then indicated that experienced women welders made better quality (and thus stronger) welds, than experienced men welders.
Because Richmond's marina had a naturally deep harbor, and rail access, this area quickly developed into four separate shipyards, all owned by social visionary Henry Kaiser, an Industrialist.
During the War his factories produced almost 750 ships, mainly Liberty Ships & Victory Ships, but some smaller models too. These Kaiser shipyards employed up to 90,000 people, once the factories went to a 24-7 basis. It's a bit mind-boggling....
Some of the overhead photos of workers leaving at shift changes shows thousands of workers, going back to their homes, or catching buses or trains. I was really impressed at the number of vintage photos they had on display here.
Other shipyards in the Bay Area during WWII included Mare Island in Vallejo, Marinship in Sausalito, Moore Dry Dock in Oakland, and, Bethlehem Shipyard as well as Hunter's Point Dry Dock, in San Francisco.
People from all over the country, many or most having lived through the seemingly unending dog days of the Depression, flocked to these factory jobs and as a result, Richmond's population in a two year period (1942-44) grew from 30,000 to 130,000.
note - you can usually enlarge any part of a pictures by left-clicking in and then out again.
|hikers arriving at the Museum||Ford Assembly Building|
|big Eucalyptus at the Museum||Rosie the Riveter entrance||job statistics|
|the workers||what a mixture of people !||...a 1943 photo||ship building info|
|Liberty & Victory ships|
The Museum brochure stated that by the end of the war, there were six million women employed nationwide in the war effort.
The walkers were at the Museum for about an hour, seeing exhibits, and attending a well-done 16 minute documentary in a small theatre, with a Docent intro. Afterwards we returned to the vehicles to get hiking gear & lunches, and were off on a 6+ mile roundtrip walk, the turn-around point being near Point Isabel.
|start of the walk||Marina area||looking back||birders Max & Gail|
|Albany Hills beyond the Marina|
|red phormium or Flax||hiker group at Rosie Memorial||sculpture of a boat hull||Asian Rosie|
|the walkers||homes with Bay views|
|Pride of Madiera||looking back to Shipyard #2||Vincent Park||flags & Angel Island|
|Mt. Tam in distance, see note||Gazania||we found a few bayside lunch spots|
|Dick and Max||Max, Rich & his sister Gail||post-lunch walk||Oakland way off to the south|
|Albany Hills again||out walking||impromptu shot|
|the Marina again||winter light & East Bay scenery||sailing regatta, like butterflies.|
|...w/Oakland shipyard in the distance||back at the Museum||erector set bridge|
|photos taken at the impromptu spot||birds & the City||G.G. Bridge|
note - in a point & shoot world, sometimes you're just lucky.....while walking at Vincent Park, I noticed three different visual elements slowly merging: the sun-illuminated mast of the sail boat in the foreground, which leads your eye upwards towards the jagged roof of the Ford building, and then to the summit of Mt. Tam. It's a visually pleasing coincidence that the factory roofline mimics (or repeats) Mt. Tam's profile.
On the drive back, most of the hikers visited Heretic Brewery in Fairfield, for a snack or light diner. That enjoyable food stop left all of us with only a short drive back to the Davis park & ride.
Weather note - this was the first clear day, following three days of intense storms, which brought a lot of rain, and some occasional hail. As we arrived at the Museum, it seemed as if the storm clouds had only just cleared off like in the past hour.
Out on the trail today I heard hikers vocalizing their appreciation for such a fine sunny day out. The coastal air was invigorating, and, we had some good views across the water to other parts of the Bay Area.
Photos were taken with a Canon G16.
return to index