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Vintage San Diego: Heavy Metal

October 8, 1942


Photo courtesy of the San Diego History Center

The Crown City earned statewide recognition with this mountain of scrap at the intersection of D and Palm avenues in Coronado, behind today’s Fire Department.

During World War II, the concept of recycling was a revolutionary idea promoted by the War Salvage Committee of Coronado, among others. Members asked residents and businesses to collect scraps of rubber and metal to be used in the war effort to make tanks, weapons, ships, and more.

Citizens were eager to contribute to these scrap drives. Schools and businesses closed down to participate on October 8, 1942, officially called “Scrap Salvage Day.” The Hotel del Coronado donated old signs, as did City Hall, in addition to metal fences. At the end of the day, 500,000 pounds of metal made up one big mound, topped with an old Ford. Residents gathered to enjoy free hot dogs and snacks courtesy of the city.

Inspired? You can continue the legacy of recycling by celebrating Earth Day on April 22, 2015.


The U.S. starts rationing goods and Americans everywhere learn to make do with less


Pounds of rubber gathered by Coronado residents and businesses in July 1942


Number of B-52 Liberator bombers produced in Consolidated Aircraft Corporation’s San Diego plant


Number of employees Consolidated’s founder, Major Reuben H. Fleet, had in the mid-’30s. In 1943, there were 45,000 workers


Gallons of gas per week rationed to the average San Diegan during the war


With the People’s Ordinance of 1919, San Diego residents vote not to pay for trash collection


Sources: The Journal of San Diego History; Coronado Historical Association; sandiego.gov

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