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Founded as California's state capital in 1850 and named for one of the state's pre-eminent native sons, General Mariano Vallejo, the city of Vallejo has a favored location on the eastern interior of San Francisco Bay. Protected from wind, fog, and possible invasion by sea, Mare Island, just off Vallejo's shoreline, was the United States Navy's first base in the Pacific in 1854. Mare Island Navy Yard grew to meet the challenge of every major conflict in the country, reaching its apex during World War II and ending its military life producing nuclear submarines. The sunny sloping streets of Vallejo lengthened and became more populous in tandem with the Yard, expanding in bursts and nearly tripling its population in the 1940s. In recent years the city and its institutions have survived a wrenching urban and economic redevelopment process, now building on the creative strengths of its historic downtown and colorfully diverse population to forge a Vallejo for the new millennium.
Author Bio: Author James E. Kern, executive director of the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum, has selected the finest examples from his museum's superb photographic archives and has called in photographic reinforcements from the Vallejo Times-Herald and the U.S. Navy to make this visual narrative remarkably comprehensive and entertaining.
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