Many Liberty Ships were built here during WW II
Marinship, Sausalito, is a quiet place now. However, during World War II it was a shipyard where 20,000 workers worked three shifts around the clock. During three years, starting in 1942 and ending in 1945, a vessel was christened and sent to war on an average of about once every 13 days. In total 93 ships were built — 15 Liberty cargo ships and 78 tankers.
Back then it was a busy, busy place with good wages which attracted more than 75,000 people from around the U.S. to southern Marin County. Marin City was built to house some of them and within a year it became the second largest city in Marin County. Given the shortage of males due to the war 25% of the workforce were women. Some became known by such terms as “Rosie the Riveter” after they took jobs previously held only by men.
The 210 acre shipyard was a buzzing giant assembly line filled with ship parts, large open skids, and huge traveling cranes that lifted pre-assembled sections to a hull where they were welded to it. One world record was set when the S.S. Huntington Hills tanker (523′ long x 68′ wide) was built almost twice as fast as usual, in just 33 days from start to finish.
Most of the shipyard is now gone having been sold for commercial development. There is still the 110,000 sf Industrial Center Building (the ICB Building and formerly the yard office,) currently housing over 120 artist studios, the Marinship warehouse (see “you are here” in the photo above or the big white building in the satellite view in the map below) which holds the Corp of Engineers SF Bay Model, and Marinship park (formerly “outfitting shops” in the photo above) now a grassy park used once a year for the Sausalito Art Festival. The north end of Marinship is now home to over 500 houseboats.
An exhibit about Marinship Shipyards is housed in the same Warehouse building as the Bay Model Visitor Center. This exhibit is a small but interesting reminder of what Marinship used to be. Admission is FREE.
Location: 2100 Bridgeway Blvd, Sausalito CA
Hours: Open Tue-Sat til May 31st. Tue-Sun during the summer. Phone: (415)332-3871
SF Bay Model – Info about the Bay Model where the Marinship Exhibit is also housed
Sausalito Things To Do – Read the sections about Marinship and about houseboats
Sausalito map – Show precise locations of different things to do
Le Garage – A French bistro on the pier within short walking distance
Marinship exhibit – at Bay Model Visitor Center.
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