Harbor Development During World War Two

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This information from THE SUN and personal memory

December 5, 1941--June4, 1943

On December 5, 1941 construction of the Navy base buildings started. Commander Wm. Todd USNR is base commander. The "Willows" clearing began. The Willows occupied the area just north of town extending from Highway 1 almost to the bayshore. Little Morro Creek and Morro Creek may have joined at some point in the Willows. (personal communication from Al Jorge) Please note that in this early photo to the left there is some activity at the southern edge of the rock. This was quarrying for an early Avila breakwater.

Bill Cattaneo supplies the following information from his radio show broadcast on KVEC January 27, 1993. "On Sunday, 16 November 1941, officials fron the United States navy, the State of California, and the County of San Luis Obispo attended a ceremony in Morro Bay, marking the beginning of construction of the Morro Bay Naval Station. The Morro Bay Naval Station continued as a Naval Section Base and Coast Guard Beach Patrol Station until 4 february 1944, when it became the United States Navy Amphibious training Base. The base trained more than 45,000 U.S. Army troops in advanced amphibious warfare, including men from the 81st, 96th, 97th and 86th Divisions. The Morro Bay naval station also trained more than 5,000 officers and men, providing personnel for transport boat groups, standard landing craft units, repair units, hospital ship boat crews, and boat pool replacements. The base was decommissioned on 31 October 1945, and all of its 175 landing craft and equipment was moved to other supply depots and bases."

By December 5, 1941, a dredge from The American Dredging Company was filling in the bayfront. This photograph depicts the closing of the North Harbor entrance in 1936. Buldozers were moving the dredged material to the planned L shaped wharf. December 12, 1941: The piling arrived for the naval base wharf. (Soldiers are stationed one-half mile north of the Morro Beach Inn which was still open. They are patrolling the beaches).

July 10, 1942: The plunge is being razed. It was open for two seasons, then closed by creditors. It was purchased by the county for lumber at a price of $2400.00. This removal will make room for the harbor project. The plunge is located in the right hand corner. Please note in this very old picture the size of the building and the sandbar in front. There is a shallow channel that could be used at high tide, but the main channel is across the bay. We can probably assume that the embarcadero was to be started later this year.

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