Rosie The Riveter Memorial

A metal structure which is part of the Rosie Memorial. Photos of women can be seen, along with the natural surroundings of a park.
Part of the Rosie the Riveter Memorial in Marina Bay Park, in Richmond, CA.

NPS Photo/Luther Bailey

The Rosie the Riveter Memorial: Honoring American Women's Labor During WWII

Address: Marina Park - Regatta Blvd., Richmond, CA

The Rosie the Riveter Memorial began as a public art project for the City of Richmond in the 1990s. During its creation, the National Park Service was invited to participate, leading to the founding of the National Park in Richmond, California.

Design and Features

Designed by visual artist Susan Schwartzenberg and landscape architect/environmental sculptor Cheryl Barton, the memorial is the first in the nation to honor and describe this important chapter of American history. Chairwoman Donna Powers led the campaign to establish the memorial, which was commissioned by the City of Richmond and the Richmond Redevelopment Agency.

The principal component of the memorial is a walkway, the length of a ship's keel, which slopes toward the San Francisco Bay and aligns with the Golden Gate Bridge. The path is inscribed with a timeline about the home front and quotes from women workers sandblasted into white granite. Sculptural elements of stainless steel encountered on the walkway are drawn from ship's blueprints, suggesting the unfinished forms of hull, stack, and stern under construction. Two gardens—one of rockrose and one of dune grass—occupy the location of the ship's fore and aft hatches. Porcelain enamel panels on the hull and stack reproduce memorabilia and letters gathered from former shipyard workers, along with photographs of women at work in jobs across the nation.

Historical Significance

The panels, quotes, and timeline illustrate the complex opportunities, challenges, and hardships faced by women during the war years, including gender discrimination, hazardous working conditions, food rationing, and shortages of housing and childcare.

Inspiration and Leadership

Donna Powers was inspired to create the memorial by two women in her family. Her mother-in-law, Ruth Powers, was a teacher at the Richmond shipyards daycare centers, and her great aunt, Clarissa Hicks, was a riveter at Douglas Aircraft in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Their wonderful stories led her to ask other women around Richmond about their jobs and lives during WWII. The project grew under the leadership of historian and cultural planner Donna Graves.

The Rosie the Riveter Memorial stands as a powerful tribute to the women whose labor and resilience were crucial to the American war effort, capturing their contributions and sacrifices for future generations to appreciate and learn from.

Last updated: July 8, 2024

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