2012 USS Iowa Tour
In December and again in April a small group of club members and friends ventured over to Point Richmond to tour the battleship Iowa and to visit the Rosy the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park. The USS Iowa is scheduled to leave Richmond in March and will then reside permanently in San Pedro, California. The USS Iowa could have been part of the San Francisco Maritime Museum but the politics and cost of refurbishment killed any hope of this magnificent battleship being berthed in San Francisco. Fortunately it will survive as a museum and a living memorial to our service members who served to defend our country and preserve the peace.
The Rosie the Riveter Memorial was much less impressive. It is an open air park on about three acres with a walkway that extends from inside the park to the edge of the bay. It is on lands that were once part of the Kaiser shipyards. During World War II women made up about 27% of the workforce at the Richmond Kaiser shipyard. Their labor on Liberty ships played a significant role in America's remarkable productivity during those years. The length of the walkway is equal to the length of the keel of a Liberty ship. The walkway includes slabs of marble with the unscripted comments made by women who worked in the shipyards and a metal frame in the center holds pictures of the "Rosies" at work. The Memorial honors and commemorates the critical contribution made on the home front during World War II by American women.
After touring the Rosie Riveter Historical Park and the USS Iowa battleship we drove to the heart of Point Richmond for great lunch at the Hidden City Café, the creation of chef and co-owner Shellie Bourgault, who opened it in 1990 after a three-year stint in the kitchen at Chez Panisse.
We all had a fun, learned a lot about the local war effort during World War II, and topped it all off with a nice meal in old downtown Point Richmond. You can't ask for a better time than that.
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Photos by Donna Alexander & Scott Williams