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Port Chicago National Memorial

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Description - Port Chicago Naval Magazine was dedicated as a national memorial to honor the courage and commitment of the 320 Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, Merchant Mariners, and workers killed and injured there during World War II. It recognizes the critical role they and the survivors of the explosion played in winning the war in the Pacific. The explosion that occurred on July 17, 1944, resulted in the largest domestic loss of life during World War II. Port Chicago was dedicated in 1994 by the survivors of that tragic incident. The tragedy and its aftermath was a catalyst -- one of many that helped persuade the U.S. Navy and military establishment to begin the long journey on the road to racial justice and equality following WWII.

Attractions - Visitors must call to schedule a visit of Port Chicago. The National Memorial includes wayside exhibits, artifacts a memorial, a chapel and a museum.

Recreation - Free, escorted 2-hour visits are available by appointment only. The visit includes free transportation and a guided tour. Allow two weeks to process a request. For more information or to make tour reservations, call the park at the number listed below.

Additional activities at Port Chicago include bird watching and wildlife viewing.

Climate - The inland riverfront climate tends to be windy and warm. Months of July, August and September are especially warm, with the best weather in the Spring. Comfortable attire is suggested. Appropriate civilian or military attire is requested when visiting the memorial and chapel.

Location - Port Chicago is located at the eastern edge of the San Francisco Bay Area. From Oakland/Berkeley, take Highway 24 east to Walnut Creek. Merge onto Interstate 680 north, towards Sacramento. Merge onto Highway 242 north to Concord. Exit Port Chicago Highway north to the Concord Naval Weapons Station.

From Sacramento, take Interstate 80 west. Exit onto Interstate 680 south to Martinez. Exit onto Highway 4 east to Concord. Exit onto Port Chicago Highway north to the Concord Naval Weapons Station.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Why do you make it so difficult to visit this historical site.Why does it take 2weeks to process a tour?

Filed By: Gregg Williams (Paso Robles, CA)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Three of us arrived by car at the entrance. The guard told us to obtain a pass from the police station office across the street. The gentleman in the office took a break from his private phone conversation to tell us we need to call ahead. We used our cell phone to "call ahead" and we were told that the one lady who "does the scheduling" was on vacation for a week. Thus, our visit to a National Memorial Site hinged upon the availability of one person. Wow. Maybe we'll be more fortunate in a future month by making certain this one person is available to help three frustrated tourists. Sorry to be so negative about today's disappointing visit. I'm a history teacher and planned on using this visit to teach about the tragic wartime explosion. It is a shame that visiting this national memorial is so very difficult. Please make access to the memorial and related sites more accessible than a phone call days ahead of time to one person.

Filed By: peter vogel
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: The Last Wave from Port Chicago by Peter Vogel. The result of a 20 year investigation into the July 17, 1944 explosion at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine. This web-based book chronicles the total history of the explosion and connections with Los Alamos and the Manhattan Project. (Text in .pdf with chapter introductions in html) There is a resource for students and teachers from The Contra Costa County Office of Education concerning the Port Chicago disaster.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON History Tours available by appointment only.
ICON Historic Sites (major) Tours available by appointment only.

More Information

Contact Information:
National Park Service, P.O. Box 280 , Danville, CA, 94526, Phone: 925-838-0249, Fax: 925-838-9471

Additional Information:
California National Forests & Parks - California's National Parks, Monuments and Forests cover lands from the Pacific Ocean to the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
California's Historic Sites - This section includes the major historic sites within California. California's rich history is showcased in its many historic sites and monuments.
San Francisco Bay Area - The San Francisco Bay Area offers incredibly diverse experiences. It features cosmopolitan cities, Point Reyes National Seashore, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and an array of incredible state park sites.

Port Chicago National Memorial - Official agency website


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