VIGNETTE > Housing for Marinship

Alto Trailer Park

Alto Trailer Park


On March 12, 1942, three months after Pearl Harbor, Bechtel signed a U.S. Maritime Commission contract to build and operate a shipyard in Sausalito. Three months later, the first keel was laid at Marinship. At its peak of production, the workforce consisted of 20,000 men and women. Most of them lived in San Francisco, many in the Filmore district from which Japanese families had been relocated. Others lived in Marin and Sonoma County. Planning for a new city near Marinship considered Strawberry Point—accessed by a footbridge across the bay. But an alternative site was approved. On June 9, 1942, work began on a new city in “lovely Waldo Valley” which came to be called “Marin City”. By the end of 1943, Marin City’s population was nearly 6000—about 1000 in dormitories. Mill Valley also provided hopusing. In April 1942, a Mill Valley Record editorial urged residents, “Rent a room to a Marinship worker.” Three large homes on Throckmoton became housing for Marnship workers. Contractors constructed houses in Alto and also in the El Cerrito tract on East Blithedale. An 8.1-acre Federal Trailer Park for 75 trailers was established in Alto. Ship orders ceased when the war ended in August 1945. The last of the 15 liberty ships and 78 T-2 tankers built at Marinship was delivered on October 28, 1945—only 600 workers were left. On May 16, 1946 Marinship was history.