Rosie the Riveter to Invade the Navy Yard this Friday, Saturday

August 29, 2016
By

By Seth Daniel

The Charlestown Navy Yard is often a prime place for telling the story of the USS Constitution and the Cassin Young – not to mention the history of shipbuilding on the waterfront site that stretches back centuries.

Tourists and locals flock to the Yard for such history.

However, one story deeply ingrained in the Yard, but up to now not told in totality, is the story of Rosie the Riveter in the Navy Yard. “Rosies” were a nationwide phenomenon during World War II when women, in the absence of men who were needed to fight overseas, took to the industrial and administrative workplaces to fill the gaps and help the war effort. In Charlestown, National Park Service (NPS) rangers said this week that more than 20 percent of the wartime workforce in the Navy Yard was comprised of women, or Rosies, who welded, forged large chains and built ships to be used in the war effort.

Their stories have often gone untold, but that will all change this Friday and Saturday when ‘Rosies Invade the Navy Yard,’ a special program put on by the National Parks of Boston as part of the overall 100th anniversary of the NPS.

“The Rosie program is a two-day celebration starting on the 26th and continuing on the 27th,” said NPS Ranger Sentidra Joseph. “We’re going to really examine how many women worked in the Navy Yard and hear their stories and how they played such a vital role in the war effort. There will be many events, a panel and we’ll have Penny Coleman, who wrote a book on ‘Rosie the Riveter.’ She will be coming and speaking about her book and research into the Navy Yard on Saturday.

“Also, our park rangers will be talking about the specific story of Peggy Citarella, who worked in the Navy Yard as a Rosie,” she continued.

While the National Park Service celebrates its overall 100th birthday at all three Boston park sites, with a major celebration on Friday, Aug. 26, in the North End’s Christopher Columbus Park, the Navy Yard will play a central role on both Friday and Saturday in the celebration. The focus, naturally, will be on the role of World War II in the Yard.

The Navy Yard celebration will also be highlighted by a Movie Night on Friday, Aug. 26, where they will show ‘On the Town’ (1949) at 7:30 p.m. on the Commandant’s Lawn. At 1 p.m. on Friday, the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band will give a concert called ‘Rhythm and Blue.’

On Saturday, a highlight will be Swing Dance demonstrations by the Lindy Bomb Squad starting at 1 p.m. and going all day. At 6:30 p.m. on the Pier, there will be Swing Dance lessons and then a large public dance at 7 p.m.

The schedule of events is as follows:

Friday, Aug. 26

  • Tires and Treads, all day in the Yard they will look at vintage World War II military vehicles.
  • 1 p.m. Rhythm and Blue concert by the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band.
  • 1 p.m. Animating the War Effort, talk by Christina Knopf of SUNY.
  • 1-4 p.m. Hands on History, as live music plays, kids of all ages can take history home with them by making rope, riveting a ribbon bracelet, designing a work badge and coloring in a Shipbuilding book. Play a game to learn about rationing during the War and take a picture in the ‘We Can Do It!’ selfie booth. Kids can even sign the copper sheeting that will go on the USS Constitution.
  • 2:30 p.m. Lowell: the Home Front and War Production, Jack Herlihy of Lowell NHP.
  • 3 p.m. Tracy Rimes, TLC Windows on historic preservation.
  • 3:30 p.m. Julia Wagner of St. Michael’s College, History Talk
  • 4 p.m. Shipbuilding Women of the Navy, Ranger Polly Kienle.
  • 4:30 p.m. Rosie’s Legacy, join a panel in an exploration of how working women changed the Boston Navy Yard during World War II and what that means today.
  • 7:30 p.m. Movie Night, ‘On the Town,’ Commandant’s Lawn.

Saturday, Aug. 27

  • 1 p.m. Rosie the Riveter: Women working on the home front in World War II, Author Penny Coleman.
  • 1 p.m. (All Day) Swing Dance Demonstrations by Lindy Bomb Square on Pier 1.
  • 1-4 p.m. Hands on History, as live music plays, kids of all ages can take history home with them by making rope, riveting a ribbon bracelet, designing a work badge and coloring in a Shipbuilding book. Play a game to learn about rationing during the War and take a picture in the ‘We Can Do It!’ selfie booth. Kids can even sign the copper sheeting that will go on the USS Constitution.
  • 2 p.m. Where the Action Was: Women Correspondents of World War II, Author Penny Coleman.
  • 3 p.m. Shipbuilding Women of the Navy, Ranger Polly Kienle.
  • 4 p.m. Animating the War Effort, Christina Knopf, SUNY.
  • 6:30 p.m. Swing Dance Lessons on Pier 1
  • 7 p.m. Public Swing Dance on Pier 1 with the Tin Pan Band.

On both days, there will also be tours of the Navy Yard at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. The Cassin Young will be open for tours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.