Today in History: July 17 – Port Chicago Disaster

On this day in 1944, in the worst Home Front disaster of World War II, explosions at the U.S. Naval Magazine at Port Chicago result in more than 300 deaths. The blasts were felt in a 40-mile radius – as far away as San Francisco – and windows were blown out and plaster shaken down in Benicia. The above July 19, 1944 copy of the San Francisco Examiner, located in the Museum archives, headlines the devastation.

The National Park Service will hold a virtual commemoration today at 1PM visit for more information and to access the link.

There are many online sources of information on the disaster and its repercussions; we recommend author Sara Sundin’s blog at or The History Channel’s This Day in History at
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