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  Help Plan for Rosie in Richmond
November 21, 2004

Bit by bit, the Rosie the Riveter World War II/Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond is falling into place. This past week, eight historical interpretive markers spaced along the Bay Trail at Marina Bay were dedicated (see West County Times story following this email). The markers were funded by a $225,000 ABAG grant.

Not only Richmond residents, but people from all over the Bay Area have an opportunity in the next couple of weeks to tell the National Park Service what they hope to find in Richmond’s national historical park in the future. The National Park Service has outlined several visions of how the Rosie the Riveter World War II/Home Front National Historical Park will look, feel and function and is asking the public for opinions and suggestions. The newsletter describing the option has been mailed to over 10,000 households and can also be found on the Internet at http://www.nps.gov/pwro/rori_news3/oct2004_news3.htm.

The three public meetings, sponsored jointly by Rosie the Riveter / World War II Home Front National Historical Park and the City of Richmond, not only provide an opportunity for input but also provide for an opportunity to show public support for the park and increase its positioning for future funding. Every resident of Richmond should attend at least one of these meetings, which are being held at several times and locations to allow an opportunity for all to participate. Three of the four meetings are in Richmond.

  • Help make history
  • Help shape how your home front and Rosie stories will be told
  • Help launch this park!

Come and review the four alternatives for developing the park. Add your thoughts to the “Kilroy Was Here” Wall. Stop and enjoy refreshments at the USO Station

Meeting Dates and Locations:

November 30, 2004: 6 - 9 pm

Regional Office of the National Park Service

1111 Jackson Street, Oakland at Jackson and 11th Streets


December 1, 2004: 6 - 9 pm

Bermuda Room, Richmond Convention Center

403 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, at Nevin and 25th Streets


December 2, 2004: 1 - 3 pm and 6 - 9 pm (Two meetings, one in the afternoon and one in the evening)

Bermuda Room, Richmond Convention Center

403 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, at Nevin and 25th Streets


Park staff will also provide two free tours of the Rosie the Riveter / World War II Home Front National Historical Park November 29, 2004: 10am - noon and 1:00 - 3:00.

Please call 510-232-5050 and reserve your seat by leaving your name and phone number on the voice mail.



Rosie the Riveter / World War II Home Front National Historical Park

1401 Marina Way South

Richmond, California 94804


email: rori_gmp@nps.gov

web site: http://www.nps.gov/rori


Richmond markers trace local WWII history
Posted on Tue, Nov. 16, 2004


In 1943, Mabell Draxton and her husband moved from Minnesota to Richmond to work on the assembly lines that produced hundreds of World War II-era ships.

She earned $16.70 the first week, more than three times what she made as a house-cleaner in Minnesota and an unbelievable amount someone coming of age during the Depression.

"When I got $16.70, oh, I felt rich," said Draxton, recalling her first purchase -- a fountain pen. "I'll never forget that; it was just like yesterday."

Eight interpretive markers along the Bay Trail tracing World War II history will be dedicated Wednesday as part of the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park.

Interviews with local residents and historical photos were used to create the markers, appearing as large, magazine-style pages affixed to 18-foot-high metal beams.

"The interpretive signage is both a new amenity for the city and a new part of the national park," said historian and project manager Donna Graves.

The markers address a range of subjects, including wartime night life, the war's local legacy and struggles for civil rights.

They use the memories of local residents such as Jun Honda, 82 of Pinole, who was interred during the war with his family and then drafted into the military following his release.

His words appear on the sign "No Home at the Home Front," at Shimada Park, commemorating Richmond's postwar alliance with sister city Shimada, Japan.

The marker at Lucretia Edwards Park offers quotes from local residents, photographs and narrative text to provide a concise portrait of the people who worked at the shipyards. It's titled "A Deluge of Humanity," after the description by photographer Dorothea Lange.

The pictures show a family living in a bus, men looking haggard and sleeping in a movie theater because of the housing shortage, an elementary-school class from the era and workers living up to Lange's description.

The marker describes the city's wartime population as ballooning from 23,000 to 100,000 people in three years.

Draxton said the photos and text add up to an accurate description of the times. People were very patriotic and nearly ecstatic to be working and supporting the war effort, despite the harsh conditions.

"Everybody wanted to work," said Draxton, who peered at the marker during a break in the recent rain. "You didn't hear anyone complain."

Included in the photos is a page from Draxton's autograph book dated June 9, 1945 -- "Dear Maybelle: Lots of luck to a good worker and a good welder."

Draxton, 82, said she was so concerned about the war effort and seeing the troops come back, she didn't stop to think she was living through history.

"If I had known, I would've taken more pictures," she said with a smile.

The markers are a culmination of $225,000 in grant money and three years of work between historian Graves; writer Chiori Santiago; Portland, Ore.; design firm Mayer/Reed; the Richmond Redevelopment Agency; and the National Park Service.

The markers grew out of the process that created the Rosie the Riveter Memorial that honors women's wartime contributions, Graves said. That sculpture is also located along the Bay Trail and park and was dedicated in the fall of 2000.

Reach Alan Lopez at 510-243-3578 or at alopez1@cctimes.com.