CLIFFORD HENNIS & MARE ISLAND
A few months ago Paul and I took a ride over to Vallejo to tour a manufactured homes factory, Blu Homes. I'm not sure how I found out about them, but I did, and that morning in December we we driving onto Mare Island. Now this was only my second time onto Mare Island, because even though I had grown up in Vallejo and Daddy (Clifford) had worked there, since he was a Civilian worker, we family members didn't have military passes that would allow us to get on base. So I was very interested in seeing the buildings and machinery that were part of the place that my Dad had worked, but I had never been allowed to see. So we took the tour of Blu Homes, and afterward drove around the Island, taking pictures. I even called April to talk to Daddy and find out what shop he had worked at. He told me it was Shop 31, so we drove all around the base, looking, but to no avail.
Fast forward, a few weeks later:it was a beautiful Saturday, and Paul and I decided to go back, since it had been growing dark by the time we had started looking around on our first visit.
This time, we got lucky and found the Mare Island Museum, and a sweet old lady knew where Shop 31 had been. What do you know, but it was in Building 680, the same building that we had toured several weeks before!!
Building 680, home of Shop 31
Using the scale of the cars out front, you can see that it is a very large building. The Museum worker told us that it is 1/4 mile long!! It has been called a cathedral to manufacturing because of all the glass in the building. Look closely and you'll see that it is more glass than concrete! It was cold in there with all those single paned windows and concrete floors. Knowing how Daddy hates the cold, it must have been hard for him to work in there and stay warm! It makes me so grateful to him for his sacrifices to provide for us, and I never heard him complain about it once as I grew up!
Here are a few more pictures on building 680, home of Shop 31
In talking to Daddy, I learned for the first time that he hadn't been able to drive on base, so he had parked his car at the entrance and walked in. Now, I didn't have any luck finding the actual guard gate that he had entered through, but if it was the one that was on the bridge, he must have had to walk just over a mile back and forth, rain or shine, to the shop every day! And knowing how little energy he had, he must have been tired when he arrived to work! And I never saw an umbrella in his possession either, so when it rained he must have gotten soaked, and add to that, he usually worked the night shift or the graveyard shift, so he always walked one direction in the dark! Poor Daddy, he was a much tougher man than I ever realized!!
These pictures are of the buildings that he must have passed on his walk to the shop.
Some of the massive cranes to lift the submarines and ships. These are just on the other side of the road that he would have walked down to and from work.
Notice the tracks in the pavement where the crane would ride.
|Building 106, on the road to shop 31|
|Bldg. 45, also on the road to shop 31|
|"PILLAR OF THE FUTURE, BUILT BY THE PILLARS OF THE PAST"|
MARE ISLAND ONE OF THE GREAT NAVY YARDS.
DEDICATED SEPTEMBER 16, 2004
This monument was placed to commemorate the service of the people who worked and served on Mare Island. So Daddy, this monument is to you too!!
I have more pictures posted on my Imgur site: go there to see all of them if you want. They're in my Family History album.