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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Concord in Contra Costa County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

(Port Chicago) Disaster

 
 
(Port Chicago) Disaster Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, July 17, 2019
1. (Port Chicago) Disaster Marker
Inscription.  Here, at 10:08 p.m. on July 17, 1944 one of history's most powerful man-made, non-nuclear disasters obliterated two cargo ships, killed 320 men, and wounded hundreds. It was the worst stateside disaster of World War II. The cause of the explosion is unknown.
Seismographs recorded two blasts, six seconds apart. Witnesses claimed the first was on the dock, among the rail cars. The SS E.A. Bryan, a liberty ship packed with 4,600 tons of munitions, went up in the second explosion. The blast also demolished the empty SS Quinault Victory, moored on the opposite side of the pier. Her shattered hull landed more than 500 feet away (see photo). The explosion flung debris across Suisun Bay (see inner ring on map) and damaged structures in nearby towns and cities (outer ring), registering 3.4 on the Richter scale.
The disaster prompted an overhaul of safety procedures for handling explosives and helped push the Navy to reconsider its policy of racial segregation. After a protracted dispute, the Navy declared eminent domain and closed the adjacent town of Port Chicago in 1968.
 
Erected
A piece of plating from one of ships destroyed in the Port Chicago explosion, July 17, 1944 image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, July 17, 2019
2. A piece of plating from one of ships destroyed in the Port Chicago explosion, July 17, 1944
2019 by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Location. 38° 3.451′ N, 122° 1.772′ W. Marker is in Concord, California, in Contra Costa County. Memorial is on Port Chicago Highway. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5110 Port Chicago Highway, Concord CA 94520, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial (a few steps from this marker); Dangerous Work (within shouting distance of this marker); Port Chicago Naval Magazine (within shouting distance of this marker); The Only Train Stop in Clyde (approx. 2.4 miles away); Dr. John Marsh (approx. 4.8 miles away); Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet (approx. 5 miles away); Bolla House (approx. 5.3 miles away); Elworthy House (approx. 5.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Concord.
 
More about this marker. Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial is on the grounds of Military Ocean Terminal Concord. Access is restricted.
 
Also see . . .  Port Chicago disaster -- Wikipedia. The Port Chicago disaster was a deadly munitions explosion that occurred on July 17, 1944, at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine in Port Chicago, California, United States. Munitions detonated while being loaded onto a cargo vessel bound for the Pacific Theater of Operations, killing 320 sailors and civilians and injuring 390 others. Most of the dead and injured were enlisted African American sailors. A month later, unsafe conditions inspired hundreds of servicemen
A piece of plating from one of ships destroyed in the Port Chicago explosion, July 17, 1944 image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, July 17, 2019
3. A piece of plating from one of ships destroyed in the Port Chicago explosion, July 17, 1944
to refuse to load munitions, an act known as the Port Chicago Mutiny. Fifty men‍—‌called the "Port Chicago 50"‍—‌were convicted of mutiny and sentenced to 15 years of prison and hard labor, as well as a dishonorable discharge. Forty-seven of the 50 were released in January 1946; the remaining three served additional months in prison. (Submitted on July 18, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.) 
 
Categories. African AmericansDisastersWar, World II
 
Damage at Port Chicago, Ca. View looking north toward pier. image. Click for full size.
Wikipedia
4. Damage at Port Chicago, Ca. View looking north toward pier.
 

More. Search the internet for (Port Chicago) Disaster.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 20, 2019. This page originally submitted on July 18, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 51 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 18, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.
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