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  Rosie Park Superintendent Judy Hart to Retire
January 16, 2005

Superintendent Judy Hart, who as a National Park Service official in the Washington, D.C. headquarters, helped shepherd the legislation that created the Rosie the Riveter World War II/Home Front National Historical Park through Congress and later became its first superintendent, will retire next month after a 28-year National Park Service career.


Judy has devoted the last four years of her life laying the foundation for a national park that is part of Richmond’s unique heritage but at the same time represents the epicenter of a national effort to memorialize and interpret the contribution of the Home Front in not only winning World War II but also changing the way the nation thinks about civil rights, child care, health care and labor rights.


The challenges Judy has faced and the obstacles she has overcome are even more remarkable because, as a “partnership park,” all of the land and buildings are owned by entities other than the National Park Service, and the federal funds available for start-up national parks are miniscule beyond belief. Working with a number of grants, volunteers and her public and private partners, Judy will turn over a sound structure to her successor on which to continue building.


As a City Council member and a member of the Rosie the Riveter Trust, the Park’s non-profit partner, it has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with Judy these past five years. I have learned a lot from her about patience, diplomacy and perseverance, and I wish her well in her retirement.


The park will be assigned an interim superintendent for several months while the National Park Service identifies a new permanent superintendent.


The following articles are excerpted from recent editions of a National Park Service internal publication, InsideNPS.




Judy Hart, the founding superintendent of Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park, will retire on February 3, 2005. The legislation creating the new national park was signed by the President October 24, 2000, and Judy moved from Washington DC to California to begin as superintendent on January 15, 2001.


Her career in the National Park Service spans 28 years. Prior to moving to California for this new position, Judy worked for 12 years in headquarters in Washington. She was the first national program  coordinator for the Service's national heritage areas. Previous to that, she developed the Conservation Study Institute, now implemented and operated in partnership with the University of Vermont and Marsh-Billings National Historical Park in Woodstock, Vermont.


Hart served in the Office of Legislation in WASO for six years, supporting the creation of Petroglyphs National Monument, Marsh Billings National Historical Park, Mary McLeod Bethune National Historic Site, and Manzanar National Historic Site, as well as many other park units.


She lived for six years in Seneca Falls, New York, and was the founding superintendent of Women’s Rights National Historical Park in that city after suggesting the idea, working on the study, and drafting the legislation. Prior to that, Hart worked on park legislation out of the regional office in Boston, Massachusetts. While there, she suggested the now authorized Boston African American National Historical Site, the site of the first freed African American community.

Her first Park Service position was in land acquisition and relocation services and included the successful relocation of tenants from Eleanor Roosevelt’s home in Hyde Park and implementation of the new payments in lieu of taxes program.


Prior to her career with the Park Service, Hart worked for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as director of the Bureau of Relocation. While there, she was fortunate to head a team creating additional subsidized housing for families made homeless by summer rentals, the focus of a National Welfare Rights Summer event.


Working for the Redevelopment Authority of the city of Boston, she specialized in planning for the relocation of families caused by public acquisitions. She also worked for the Federal Highway Administration on environmental impact statement reviews and planning relocation assistance.


She began her career in publishing at Little, Brown & Company, and as company newsletter editor for the Boston Safe Deposit and Trust Company, both in Boston.


Her undergraduate degree is in English literature from Cornell University, and her graduate degree is an MA in law from Goddard College in Vermont.

She also attended the Publishing Institute at Radcliffe College.


Judy will move to Santa Fe New Mexico and may be reached after retirement at Judy4000@aol.com.


Contributions to a memory book may be sent prior to February 1st to Elizabeth Tucker (Elizabeth_Tucker@nps.gov) or 510-232-1542, or to Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park, 1401 Marina Way, Richmond, California 94804.



Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park was created on October 24, 2000. Skeptics were many and widespread; believers were fierce and focused. The believers have won. Liftoff has occurred and there is now the momentum to carry her forward.

Over 9,000 Rosies have contacted the park to share their names and short stories. After connecting with the park, over 2,000 Rosies have written out the whole story of their home front adventures, up to 55 typed pages from one Rosie. Over 2,000 Rosies have donated their precious mementos, treasured for over 50 years and now delivered to the safekeeping of the park.

Their feisty spirits come through in their stories and fascinating donations, as does the intensity of their memories. One worker in Arizona had her teammates sign her white camp shirt, and she embroidered over every name with a rainbow of different colors of thread. One Rosie created a statue of a Rosie, holding a child and the hand of a toddler, going off to leave her children so she could go to work, with a worried look on her face. Two Rosies have donated the tests that allowed them to get their riveting jobs: placing a rivet on each intersection of a cross hatch on a piece of metal. Over 100 locally videotaped oral histories will help tell these stories.

The Rosies often say that their work was not as important as the work of the men on the battle front. Yet it was the work of these Rosies that changed the face and culture of America. African Americans and all minorities were hired to work in the shipyards and plane and tank factories, and the work teams were integrated, even before the armed forces at the battle front were integrated. These Rosies kicked open the door to greater opportunity in the work place for all women, and they have been dubbed the “mother of all working women.” They made child care, and early child education, outside the home, acceptable. Can you imagine our life today without child care?  The shipyards in Richmond pioneered in preventative prepaid health care, the predecessor of modern health care programs. Innovations in industry and manufacturing abound.

These stories will be told in a visitor center planned for the historic Ford Assembly Building. Construction is hoped to begin in 2007. The City of Richmond has just transferred title to the quarter mile building designed by Albert Kahn to a private developer who has been restoring the building to the standards of the Secretary of the Interior. In the interim, there is an exhibit in Richmond City Hall. Also open to the public now are the Rosie the Riveter Memorial landscape sculpture, created by the city of Richmond. The SS Red Oak Victory, one of 747 ships built in the four Kaiser shipyards in Richmond, is open to the public and is being restored by volunteers at the Richmond Museum Association.

Shipyard # 3, created by Henry Kaiser, is now open for public viewing; a new road takes the visitor around the current shipping operations of the Port of Richmond and down to the historic basins where the ships were assembled, and the visitor can view the historic electric shop, general warehouse, machine shop and forge. They will have passed the historic cafeteria and first aid station on the way. Funds are being donated to develop a wayside to interpret the shipyard story. Visitors can also stroll the Bay Trail and view eight new wayside art/interpretive elements –14-foot high sculptures of the prow of a ship support the interpretive panels.

Still under development are two child care centers built by Henry Kaiser for his war workers, the Kaiser Hospital that served the shipyard workers, and war worker housing.

The general management plan team is crafting the preferred alternative for the development of the park, based on public workshops held last November and December. What a long road from 2000, when all the historic structures were in consideration, or planning, for demoliton. There is now a new pride in the community of Richmond about the extraordinary days when they worked together to accomplish the absolutely impossible: a city of 20,000 grew to 120, 000 during the war, built its city structure during the war, and built 747 ships while they were at it. The city is celebrating 100 proud years in 2005.

They say that an interstellar rocket uses 90% of its fuel going the first 100 miles off the ground. Rosie has gone her 100 miles, and is now successfully launched, thanks to a village of partners collaborating with the National Park Service in these accomplishments. They couldn’t have happened without the contributions of all.

For additional information, see www.rosietheriveter.org and Not Too Late to Opine on Rosie, December 04, 2004, Help Plan for Rosie in Richmond
November 21, Rosie/Bay Trail Marker Dedication, November 13, 2004, Participate Planning the Future of Richmond's National Park, October 24, 2004, Rosies Converge on Richmond, June 6, 2004, Lynne Cheney Visits Richmond to Honor Rosies, January 15, 2004, Richmond Celebrates Veterans Day at Historic Ship and Shipyard, November 9, 2003 and National Park Service Director Visits Richmond, July 27, 2002.