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Whirley Crane

whirley-craneThe Whirley Crane cannot be missed when touring Shipyard #3.  It sits adjacent to the Red Oak Victory ship and across from the restored Rigger’s Loft, a former shipyard building used for fitting out the top part of the completed vessel with masts and other equipment; The scale of the crane is enormous, like a revolving boxcar sitting on massive legs as tall as a 10-story building.

The Whirley Crane got its name not because of the speed of its movement—it probably moved carefully and deliberately because a single error could cost several lives—but because the crane could turn a full 360 degrees, thus allowing the boom to achieve a speed of operation as it went about several tasks. Sixty years ago, workers-many of them women-used to sit in the turret at the top of the Whirley Crane, operating the controls that caused the 110 foot boom to lift and assemble and put into place the massive sheets of iron that eventually became the cruisers and battleships that sailed out into the Pacific and helped win the naval war for the United States.

Rosie the Riveter Trust (ID # 94-3335350) — PO Box 71126, Richmond, CA 94807-1126 — (510) 507-2276