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Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front

Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front
This National Historical Park near San Francisco preserves the legacy of the “We Can Do It” era

With her rolled-up sleeves, clenched fist, and polka-dotted kerchief, Rosie the Riveter rose to stardom as a 1940s graphic-art icon who symbolised American civilian workers during World War II. Her battle cry of “We Can Do It” may have been wartime propaganda, but it worked—legions of women signed up for jobs building ships and manufacturing munitions.

Today, the Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park preserves sites from that era of social change marked by challenging work. Located on the windy shores of San Francisco’s East Bay, Richmond was a pivotal spot for wartime manufacturing. Its population quadrupled during the war as migrants—especially women—flooded in to fill newly created jobs in 56 industries, including shipbuilding. Workers endured hazardous conditions, gender discrimination, and housing shortages—many lived in their cars or trailer camps—for the chance to learn valuable skills and earn a solid wage.

Start your visit with a trip to the Oil House Visitor Center. This brick building once housed the oil tanks and boilers that fueled the neighbouring Ford Assembly Plant, where civilian workers assembled jeeps, tanks, combat vehicles, and personnel carriers. Watch the two short documentaries and try your hand at the rivet station interactive display. If you time your visit for a Friday, you may get to meet an actual home front worker from World War II.

Next, tour the Red Oak Victory cargo ship, the last remaining vessel of more than 700 constructed here during World War II. Then move on to the Rosie the Riveter Memorial, an outdoor art installation that’s an allusion to shipbuilding. Exhibits along the stainless-steel path depict quotations, letters, photos, and memorabilia gathered from women shipyard workers. 

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Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Northern California

Discover the San Francisco Bay Area

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10
December
Average (°C)
Dec - Feb
16°
High
5°
Low
Mar - May
23°
High
8°
Low
June - Aug
27°
High
14°
Low
Sept - Nov
26°
High
7°
Low

A crimson bridge, cable cars, a sparkling bay, and streets lined with elegant Victorian homes—San Francisco is undeniably one of the world’s great cities. Located along the Northern California at the state’s distinctive bend in the coast, the region has an alluring magic that stretches beyond the bay to diverse cities with nightlife and trend-setting cuisine.

"I left my heart in San Francisco, High on a hill, it calls to me."  –singer Tony Bennett

The Bay Area is also home to some of the world’s finest wine country, including Napa Valley and Sonoma, plus waterfront towns, dramatic beaches, and the tech-savvy southern end of the bay known as the Silicon Valley, where lunchtime ideas at Google, Facebook, and Apple, turn into the next brilliant innovation. 

Plan your California getaway via San Francisco with these great deals!

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San Francisco itself is art, above all literary art. Every block is a short story, every hill a novel. Every home a poem, every dweller within immortal. That is the whole truth.
William Saroyan
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It's simply a very romantic place. Just one look at any of those streets, and you couldn't be anywhere else -- it's so beautiful, and there's that location, and the sense of the free spirit. ... Who couldn't become ravenous in such a place?
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