The National Memorial of the Port Chicago Naval Magazine is a memorial dedicated in 1994 that honors the dead of the Port Chicago tragedy and the vital role that Port Chicago, California played in serving as the Pacific Theater of Operations' main facility during World War II. The monument is located in the United States at the Concord Naval Weapons Station near Concord, California.
The Port Chicago tragedy of 1944 occurred at the naval magazine and during the Second World War resulted in the greatest domestic loss of life. On July 17, 1944, when the ships they had loaded with ammunition and bombs exploded, 320 sailors and civilians were killed instantly. African American sailors serving for the racially segregated military were the bulk of those killed. The explosion and its aftermath led to the largest Naval mutiny in US history, and after the war, it and the resulting trial were significant catalysts for the United States Navy to desegregate.
Public Law 102-562 approved the national memorial, operated by the National Park Service, on October 28, 1992. The memorial was dedicated in 1994 and is situated on the grounds of the Concord Military Ocean Terminal (MOTCO), formerly the Concord Naval Weapons Station's Tidal Field. The memorial is only available to the public by guided tours that are booked. The Memorial became an official National Park System entity on October 28, 2009.
The Port Chicago Committee is working to extend the new memorial to the old Port Chicago waterfront to cover 250 acres (1.0 km2). Any of the railroad revetments and old boxcars from the 1940s may be used in the memorial site, as well as the new memorial chapel, with stained-glass windows showing the operations of World War II.
Directions By Car
From San Francisco: I-80 Eastbound (Oakland - San Francisco Bay Bridge) to Highway 4 eastbound. Take the Alhambra Avenue exit and turn left at the bottom of the ramp. Cross the highway underneath. The park will be on your left immediately.
From San Jose: Take I-680 northbound or I-680 southbound (from Sacramento) to Highway 4 westbound. Alhambra Ave Exit. At the bottom of the ramp, turn right. The park is situated on your left right away.
Recreational Vehicles: For RV's at John Muir NHS, there is no parking available. Their parking lot is very small (16 spaces) and there is no place for a big RV to navigate. It is recommended that you park on Walnut Ave. (from the Visitor Center just across the street). You can use the Chase bank to turn around, but don't park there.
This hidden gem in Concord, California is located near some other must-see places of interest:
- The Galindo Home
- Markham Nature Park & Arboretum
- Don Fernando Pacheco Adobe
- Historical Eichler Homes of Concord
- Salvio Pacheco Square
- John Muir National Historic Site
- De Martini Winery
- Rodgers Ranch Heritage Center
All of these wonderful - but not so well known - attractions are located just a short distance from our location at 1261 Locust Street in Walnut Creek, California! Stop by for a visit anytime!