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(June 13-23, 2013)

Michael Bajko


G. Donald Bain

The Giant Whirley Crane

Rosie the Riveter / World War II Home Front National Historical Park, Richmond, California, USA

23 January, 2013 11 am

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© 2013 G. Donald Bain, All Rights Reserved.

Even before the United States had entered World War II, production of ships needed to supply Britain had begun. Here at Richmond, industrialist Henry Kaiser constructed three highly efficient shipyards which created a war-time boomtown. A shortage of white male industrial labor resulted in a workforce of unprecedented diversity - white, black, and Hispanic, with a significant number of women, characterized as "Rosies".

My intention was to photograph the engine room of the "Liberty Ship" Red Oak Victory, a really huge old-fashioned machine. The engine room of the very similar liberty ship Jeremiah O'Brien on display in San Francisco, was used in the movie Titanic (with some special effects to make it look more titanic).

But when I got down to the old shipyard I found that the historic ship was closed, though usually open on weekends. Since I had left my WWP photography to the very last day, I had to come up with an alternative right away - and there it was, towering over me.

The "whirley cranes" got their name from their ability to rotate 360° in place. They weighed 114 tons (103 tonnes), rode on 32 foot (10 meter) wide tracks, and could lift 83 tons (73 tonnes) with their 110 foot (34 meter) booms. They could even be used two to four together to lift huge prefabricated ship sections into place. Nothing characterized the shipyards better than the towering latticework booms and big square turrets of the cranes on the skyline.

This particular crane had been saved from salvage so it could become part of the historical display at Kasier Shipyard #3, alongside the liberty ship and the fitting warehouse. It may eventually be refurbished and put back into working order.

Before I left I happened to notice something unusual - a pair of ospreys (sea eagles) were working on a big messy nest on the very top of the whirley crane. Apparently they have been raising their young there for the last three years.
Enjoy more 360° panoramas of this area on my website - Kaiser Shipyard Number Three

Don Bain's 360° Panoramas, over 10,000 panoramas of western North America, just type 360panos.com.

USA-Canada / USA-California

Lat: 37° 54' 19.44" N
Long: 123° 22' 57.84" W

Elevation: sea level

→ maps.google.com [EXT]

Precision is: Unknown / Undeclared.

Photographed with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 digital SLR with a 7.5mm Rokinon/Samyang fisheye lens, on a Nodal Ninja RS-1 VR mount, Really Right Stuff ballhead, and Really Right Stuff Series 1 carbon-fiber tripod. Stitched with PTGui Pro 9.1 on a Macintosh MacBook Air, retouched with Photoshop CS3.

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