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At the outset of World War II, the four Richmond Shipyards were built along the Richmond waterfront, employing thousands of workers, many recruited from all over the United States, including many African-Americans and women entering the workforce for the first time.Many of these workers lived in specially constructed houses scattered throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, including Richmond, Berkeley and Albany.It was populated by many department stores such as Kress, J. Once the war ended the shipyard workers were no longer needed, beginning a decades-long population decline. By 1960 much of the temporary housing built for the shipyard workers was torn down, and the population dropped to about 71,000.Many of the people who moved to Richmond were black and came from the Midwest and South.The facility connected with both the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific and serviced their passenger coach equipment.The Pullman Company was a large employer of African American men, who worked mainly as porters on the Pullman cars. This coincided with the repaving and streetscaping project of Macdonald Avenue.On average the yards could build a ship in thirty days.The medical system established for the shipyard workers at the Richmond Field Hospital eventually became today's Kaiser Permanente HMO.
This era also brought with it the innovation of daycare for children, as a few women could care for several dozen women's children, while most of the mothers went off to work in the factories and shipyards.There is a pier into San Francisco Bay south of Point Molate for oil tankers.The western terminus of the Santa Fe Railroad was established in Richmond with ferry connections at Ferry Point in the Brickyard Cove area of Point Richmond to San Francisco.The old Ford plant has been a National Historic Place since 1988, and in 2004 was purchased by developer Eddie Orton The city was a small town at that time, until the onset of World War II which brought on a rush of migrants and a boom in the industrial sector.
Standard Oil set up operations here in 1901, including a what is now the Chevron Richmond Refinery and tank farm, which are still operated by Chevron.There was controversy in 2005 when the State Transportation Authority ordered the BNSF railroad company to upgrade the railroad crossing signals.