March 26, 2014

Richmond: Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park; things to do + restaurant review

80 North
1414 Harbour Way South/Cutting Blvd., (510) 232-5050.  Daily dawn-dusk.  Free. 

ter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, CA
Visitor Center
at Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park
in Richmond, CA

Between 1941 and 1945, the four Kaiser shipyards here produced 747 ships (519 Liberty ships, 15 landing ship tanks, 142 Victory ships, 35 troop transports, 24 small Liberty ships, and 12 frigates)—more than any other location.  This unusual urban national park known as Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park is dedicated to the effort here during World War II on the civilian home front.  If you’re wondering why Richmond, the town has a deep-water harbor and a plentiful work force.  And it is interesting to know that the oldest ranger in the National Park Service— a 92-year-old woman, Betty Reid Soskin--works here.  

Visitor Center  Daily 10-5.  Begin your visit by viewing “Home Front Heroes,” a short and extremely interesting film about Richmond during World War II.  Be sure to take a guess about what is in the Rosie lunch box at the check-in area.  Real life Rosies are sometimes available to chat with.  I had the good fortune to meet and hear stories from 90-year-old Rosie Mary Torres, who worked here as a journeyman welder from 1943 to 1945.

Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, CA
Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, CA

Craneway Pavilion  

(510) 215-6000.  

Built in 1930, this immense building was originally part of the West Coast’s largest Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant.  It produced Model As.  During World War II, it was converted to assemble jeeps and Sherman tanks and to outfit military vehicles.  After the war, it went back to civilian production and closed in 1955.  Retaining its architectural integrity and offering walls of windows with expansive bay views, today Craneway Pavilion is one of the largest event spaces in the Bay Area.

A Celebration of American Rhone Wines is sometimes scheduled.  The Rhone Rangers is the leading national organization dedicated to promoting American Rhone wines. More than 90 winery members will pour.

Assemble Restaurant in Richmond, CA
Assemble Restaurant in Richmond, CA

Assemble Restaurant  

(510) 215-6025.  L M-F, D W-Sat, Sat-SunBr; $$.  

Located in what was originally a boiler room, Assemble Restaurant keeps the industrial decor drama of the building’s natural bones with exposed pipes and high ceilings.  Expansive windows look out to the bay.  Produce from their Victory Garden, located on site is used in some dishes.  The menu changes regularly, but starters might include unusual spiced boiled peanuts or housemade barbecued potato chips.  The lunch menu presents items such as a wedge of iceberg lettuce with Green Goddess dressing, chicken pot pie with cheddar cheese crust, and a blackened catfish sandwich.  Dessert brings on German chocolate cake, key lime pie, and carrot cakes.  Cocktails, draft beers, and wines by the glass are available.

Rosie the Riveter Memorial  

1401 Marina Way So., on site of Shipyard No. 2.  

Located in a waterfront park where the Kaiser Shipyards once operated, the Rosie the Riveter Memorial is a short, scenic walk along the SF BAY Trail from the visitor center.  The  sculpture depicts a hull under construction and includes Rosie images and history.  It measures 441 feet--the length of a Liberty ship--and honors American women’s labor during World War II.

Red Oak Victory Liberty Ship in Richmond, CA
Red Oak Victory Liberty Ship in Richmond, CA

Red Oak Victory Ship  

1337 Canal Blvd., berth 6A, on site of Shipyard No. 3, (510) 237-2933.  Tu, Thurs, Sat, Sun 11-3, weather permitting.  By donation:  $10, seniors $4, under 5 $2; pancake breakfasts $6.  

This World War II transport and ammunition vessel was built in 88 days and is the only remaining Victory ship built here in the Kaiser Shipyard.  Officially a military and Merchant Marine Memorial Ship, the Red Oak Victory Liberty Ship served also in the Korean War as a cargo ship and in the Vietnam War as a mail ship.  Call ahead for a guided tour.  World War II films are shown in the evening monthly.  Fundraiser pancake breakfasts are sometimes scheduled aboard.  The thousands of new Hondas you’ll see parked in the the surrounding area are imported and transferred from this still-active port.


  1. Looks like a very interesting tour. I'm sure I would learn a lot of history that I didn't learn in high school!

  2. I had to click through a link to work out that Richmond was in California! There are a few of them around :-) Looks like an interesting site though

  3. Loved this post! My grandmother was a "Rosie" on one of the assembly lines in southern California during WWII while my grandfather was serving in the navy. These ladies were heroes and it's nice to know that there's a national park dedicated to them!

    1. Anita, you are so young! My MOTHER was a Rosie in San Diego. :)

  4. My husband and I love to indulge in historical places like this. We have family in California and we try to add a new area to visit on our way to spoil our grandkids.

  5. Good facts for those looking to visit Rosie the Riveter.

  6. This looks like an interesting place to visit. A sculpture of a hull under construction seems an appropriate memorial for Rosie the Riveter and American women's war labor.


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