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West Coast Arsenal

<= Wartime Tensions

“Toy Horse” Photographs =>

Because of its excellent harbors, even climate and proximity to the Pacific theater of war, California became a center for defense manufacturing. Existing aircraft plants, shipyards and factories expanded, and new facilities appeared almost overnight. Workers and their families from all parts of the country flocked to the state, creating what a San Francisco Chronicle writer called a "Second Gold Rush." But it was not all positive. The boom taxed transportation, housing, schools and other services and facilities.

The Second Gold Rush, Hit the West

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Consolidated Aircraft Corporation, Official U.S. Navy Photograph

The Permanente Metals Corporation, Kaiser Company Inc. and Kaiser Cargo Inc.

S. S. Sebec 23rd Ship, U. S. Maritime Commission Tanker

At San Diego’s Consolidated Aircraft plant, workers produced B-24 bombers for the Army Air Corps and flying boats for the Navy. Other California factories turned out even more bombers, fighters and transports.

We Need Food, You Can Help

Food production was vital for the war effort. Farms and canneries in the Central Valley did their part.

Good Child Care Helps Working Mothers, Stay on the Job

Women entered the defense work force in unprecedented numbers during World War II. With factories and shipyards running 24-hours a day, childcare became a serious problem.

Richmond California News, December 1942

Many California communities, such as Richmond, erected barracks like dormitories to house the swelling ranks of defense plant and shipyard workers.

Governor Earl Warren, Recycling Scrap Metal Photo

Scrap drives helped conserve materials vital to the war effort. Here Governor Earl Warren joins in the recycling of scrap metal.

Go to Wartime Tensions
Go to Photographs from Operation “Toy Horse”

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