Documentary features Sausalito's historic shipyard

The Sausalito Historical Society will debut a documentary about the world's most amazing shipyard you may have never heard of. The documentary will debut at Sausalito City Hall on Friday night.

Sausalito is an internationally famous tourist destination known for its shops, restaurants, artists and its spectacular view of San Francisco. But, 75 years ago, Sausalito was, for all intents and purposes ‘Marinship.’

Shortly after the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor, Marinship was a shipbuilding company created by the Federal government. Its sole goal was to build cargo ships and oil tankers needed for the war effort. 

Its site was chosen because north Sausalito was mostly uncluttered and unbuilt. It was a perfect place near the ocean.

But due to the loss of so many ships in the war, some of Marinship's 210 acres were acquired through eminent domain, angering the homeowners who were forcefully evicted.

The new shoreline was dredged deep to accommodate the drafts of the ships built there.

It took only 7 months to build - from the ground up - a working shipyard. The 20,000 workers hired resulted in the creation of Marin city. During this time, a major court case led to African Americans getting better jobs and pay at the union controlled shipyard. In its three and a half years of existence, Marinship built 93 cargo ships and oil tankers. One entire ship took just 33 days to build.

Much of it survives, but in a different form as the world is very different.

Eric Torney produced the documentary for the Sausalito Historical Society. It will be screened many times in the future.