Vallejo Naval

Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum survives tough times

By Sarah Rohrs - Vallejo Times-Herald

Determined to preserve a corner of historic downtown Vallejo and its rich maritime history, community leaders came together 35 years ago to save the old City Hall from demolition.

In the process, they launched plans for a museum to preserve the city's rich maritime history and storied past.

The Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum's doors at 734 Marin St. remain open, surviving the city's financial troubles and lingering recession.

As the museum wraps up its milestone anniversary, an annual fund raising campaign is in full swing.

The campaign helps offset the effects of funding cuts that have reduced the museum's hours and staffing, and helps pay utility bills the city previously covered, museum Director Jim Kern said.

As for the potential of closing, "We are not going to let that happen," Kern said. "For 35 years, too many people have put too much work into this to let it go to waste. We're going to stay open."

Operating since July 7, 1979, the museum's origins can be traced to the early 1960s and 1970s when Vallejo's downtown and waterfront were in the midst of a massive urban renewal project that led to the razing of numerous historic buildings.

The former 1927 City Hall was in danger of being torn down and turned into a parking lot, Kern said. Through the urban renewal project, a new City Hall was built on Santa Clara Street.