St. Joseph's Church and Complex

Image courtesy of the San Francisco Historical Photo Collection

Image courtesy of the San Francisco Historical Photo Collection


St. Joseph's has occupied the corner of 10th Street and Howard Street in San Francisco since 1861 when Archbishop Joseph Alemany established the first church on the site. As the Parish grew, the need for a new complex also grew and in 1865, a new church was erected. A boys and girls school opened on the site in 1867 and twenty years later, The Young Men's Institute was founded by St. Joseph's.

By 1906, more than 300 families, mostly Irish, belonged to the Parish, but tragically, the original buildings were destroyed in the April 1906 earthquake and fire. 

The parish hall was reconstructed soon after the earthquake and acted as a temporary school and church, but it wasn't until 1913 when the church was rebuilt. Though the church returned to the site, the surrounding community was never the same. Most of the Irish-Catholic families never returned to the area and the neighborhood became largely comprised of immigrants from Latin American countries, the Philipines and Pacific Island. In the 1980's, St. Joseph's was the largest Filipino Parish in the United States and contained a shrine, known as La Chapella del Santo Ninb de Cebu, the first shrine to the Filipino patron Saint to be constructed outside of the Philipines. 

The church building was designed by San Francisco architect John J. Foley in the Romanesuqe Revival style, unusual for the time as the peak of this style occured during the third quarter of the 19th century. 

The building is cruciform in shape, with an exterior constructed of brick and covered in stucco, emulating large stones. The main entrance is through doors set inside three large Roman arches just below a large rose window. The front facade of the church also boats two magnificent towers with gold cupolas. Other adornments include, stained glass windows, corbel tables and denticulated cornices. 

The church interior demonstrates a classical basilca treatment. The three wooden entrance doors lead into a marble narthex, then into the nave. The floor slopes slightly and once contained a central aisle, flanked by oak pews. The side isles were located beneath the clerestory. The organ and choir loft sits above the entrance and the organ, dated to 1914, still remains.

Current Status

For the last twenty years, transients, scrappers and drug dealers have spent time sleeping, living in and destroying the church, but luckily, a few years ago, the church was purchased and the structure is now being preserved and repurposed. 

Current plans include the transformation the space into a 22,000 square feet of open office space and a restaurant. The alters and confessional booths will be removed, the scarsity will be transformed into offices and the organ will be donated to the Salvation Army. The structure, including the stained glass windows, will remain and be restored. 

Image courtesy of Forum Designs

Image courtesy of Forum Designs

Seaview Tuberculosis Hospital


In the nineteenth century, tuberculosis was known as the "the white plague" and was the second most common cause of death in New York City. Two strains of the disease infacted humans; bovine and pulmonary. Bovine tuberculosis could be transfered to humans via cow's milk and would attack the bones, while pulmonary tuberculosis was an airborne strain that attacked the lungs.

Tuberculosis was incredibly contagious due to the fact that an infected person could spread the disease each time they coughed or spoke. The disease was also very difficult to treat because many people never experienced symptoms at all. Those who were infected with the disease would lose their appetite, cough severely, run a fever and have difficulty breathing. As the disease progressed towards the final stages, the the lung tissue would break up and be coughed up as the body shut down. As a result, patients would experience hollow faces with recessed eyes and watch their body wither away. 

For many years, there was no medication to help ail the ill, but most doctors treated patients by prescribing a change of location, fresh air, rest and mild exercise. This required the patients to be removed from their homes and placed in a Sanatorium.

Pavillion Construction & Design

In 1903, the state of New York recognized that most people suffering from tuberculosis were living in the tight quarters of dark and poorly ventilated buildings, causing their condition to worsen. For this reason, the city began construction of a tuberculosis sanatorium. The location for the hospital was selected based on drainage, the surrounding woodland and a high elevation where a breeze blew.

Three designs were proposed for the hospital, all of which included buildings arranged symmetrically around a central building, but Architect Raymond F. Almirall's design was chosen for the campus. The hospital was constructed in three phases, the first of which began in 1909. It included the construction of eight Mission Revival style patient pavilions, an administration building, staff house, nurse residences, kitchen, dining hall and power station.

The four story pavillions were constructed in a fan-like formation to allow for maximum sunlight and ventilation. The buildings were south-facing and contained large open day rooms and porches that could hold a majority of the patients at one time. Of the eight patient pavilions constructed, four were designated as female wards, four as male wards. Buildings 1, 3 and 4 were the general female wards and Building 2 was the private ward. 

All the pavillions were adorned with terra cotta murals. Almirall himself sketched the murals by hand and each one depicted nurses and doctors caring for patients surrounded by other detail including teal sea shells. While it was common for many buildings in the area to have terra cotta ornamentation, the material and technique used on the murals at this hospital were rare. The terra cotta was constructed by a Holland-based company and designed using the technique known as sectile, which means the terra cotta pieces were made to fit the curves of the design, rather than being constructed with square tiles and straight lines. This method only lasted for ten years and by 1910, the technique was no longer used. 

Children's Hospital

By the 1920's, the sanatorium became overcrowded due to an increase in infection rates. Open air cottages, a group building, a dining building and additonal dormitories had been constructed to help dampen the impact, but by the 1930's, the hospital's patient population soared again and this time it peaked above 2,000. Construction was continuing and a Children's Hospital and expansion to the nurse quarters began.

In 1935, Adolph Mertin designed the children's hospital, a six-story building, constructed on a fairly isolated part of the campus, with wings on each floor, open air porches and curved solariums. The building was constructed with cream colored brick and contained a series of circular ramps leading to a portico entrance on the third floor of the hospital. This building was the last tuberculosis related building constructed on the campus. 


South Mountain Restoration Center


The South Mountain Restoration Center began in 1901 with the construction of a single shack in the mountains of Mont Alto, Pennsylvania. Over the last one hundred years, the campus treated thousands of people for tuberculosis, mental illness and provided general care for the elderly. What began as a forestry camp, morphed into the White Pine Camp, the Mont Alto Sanatorium, the South Mountain Sanatorium, the Samuel G. Dixon State Hospital, the South Mountain Geriatric Center and finally, the South Mountain Restoration Center.

Mont Alto, PA: The Beginning

The town of Mont Alto, in Pennsylvania, began to support settlers in the 1760's, but it wasn't until the 1840's that the township expanded to include rolling mills, flouring mills, distilleries, a furnace and the first post office, which later served the center for a number of years. The Mont Alto Iron Works was established by Daniel and Samuel Hughes in the early 1800's and employed 500 local residents into the late 1800's. In 1872, Iron Works began paving a ten mile railroad as a means to transport coal to the iron furnace on the hill, the driving force behind the South Mountain and Mont Alto area.

In 1901, when Dr. Joseph Trimble Rothrock, the father of the forestry movement in Pennsylvania, took a group of locals to the mountains of Mont Alto to camp, one camper with asthma received great relief from the fresh mountain air, which led to the construction of a single mountain shack where he could seek solace. It's not likely Rothrock's intentions were to create a sanatorium, but the sanatorium developed from that single shack.


Dr. Joseph Trimble Rothrock

Dr. Joseph Rothrock was born in 1839. He attended public school for a few years, but due to poor health, he was taken out of school by his father and put to work on a local farm. He attended Harvard University until the Civil War broke out, when he was drafted. After being severely injured during battle, he was discharged and returned to Harvard. He graduated with a B.S. in Science and Botany, then moved on to finish Medical School at the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated in 1867.

Rothrock praciticed medicine throughout Pennsylvania for a number of years and in the late 1880's became President of the Pennsylvania Forestry Association. In 1904, he resigned due to poor health. One source claims that Dr. Rothrock also experienced "lung trouble" and suffered from tuberculosis, but in the early 1900's scientists were just beginning to learn the nature of such diseases.

The History of Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis in the nineteenth century was known as the "the white plague." Bovine tuberculosis, which was transfered to humans via cow's milk, would attack the bones, possibly leaving a patient crippled. Pulmonary tuberculosis, an airborne form, attacked the lungs and an infected person could spread the disease each time they coughed or spoke. At the time, the disease was difficult to treat since most patients would not see a doctor if they were experiencing symptoms (cough, lethargy, decline in health or pain in the chest) but most of the time, those who were infected wouldn't immediately exhibit any symptoms.

An infected patient experiencing the horrors of the disease would lose their appetite, cough severely, run a fever and have difficulty breathing. As the disease progressed towards the final stages, the body would waste away and the lung tissue would break up and be coughed up. The result was hollow faces with recessed eyes and shriveled bodies.

In 1882 Robert Kroch discovered the tubercle bacillus strain, which put a whole new spin on the treatment of the disease. After his discovery, the thought was that tuberculosis was preventable and curable. Most doctors treated patients by prescribing a change of location, fresh air, rest and excersise. This caused patients to be removed from their homes, where they could possibly infect others, and placed in a Sanatorium.

White Pine Camp: The Early Sanatorium (1901-1907)

Several additional shacks were built on the sanatorium campus over the next few years, due to private donations, and a few years later, Rothrock's camp received state funding. Construction began on an office building, water system and six cottages. Additionally, the funding helped furnish each cabin with beds, a kerosene lantern and woodstove.

In 1905, Rothrock started his own private sanatorium known as the Mountain Side Sanatorium, but only two short years later, he sold the property as he had no real intention to lead the fight against tuberculosis. At that time, the adjacent White Pine Camp housed 30 patients who paid one dollar per day for treatment, which was based on a balanced diet, fresh air and a careful balance of rest and excersise.

The Mont Alto Sanatorium (1907-1918)

Until now, the camp belonged to the Department of Forestry, but an act of legislature in 1907 allowed the transfer of the camp to the Department of Health. Additionally, $600,000 was appropriated to the camp, now known as the Mont Alto Sanatorium. This was the mark of a major effort to combat tuberculosis, as declared by Dr. Samuel G Dixon, Commissioner of Health.

In the first five years, the patient consensus grew from 30 to nearly 1,000. Due to the quickly growing population, a total of fifty-six "Dixon Cottages" were built to aid in the treatment of tuberculosis. The corners of the twenty six foot square cabins were aligned to the compass to allow an equal amount of light into each of the four rooms.

South Mountain Sanatorium (1918-1956)

In 1920, a second infirmary was built and eventually became the sanatorium's first children's hospital, otherwise known as a preventorium. In these days, children were extremely susceptible to tuberculosis and were sent to the preventorium for a few reasons. Some were malnourished and underweight, while some had actually been exposed to the disease. By sending these children to South Mountain, it was believed the full development of the disease would be prevented.

Shortly after the hospital opened, a tuberculosis training school for nurses opened on the campus. A nurse received training for two years and would spend time within various parts of the sanatorium as part of the program. Most of the nurses who worked at the sanatorium were recovered patients who were less uncomfortable handling those infecte with the disease. 

Construction on the campus continued into the 1930's. A new wing was added to the preventorium, containing rooms for crippled children, classrooms and an auditorium. The preventorium and Nurse Homes closed in 1940 and were demolished shortly thereafter. Between 1938 and 1940, construction began on Units 1, 2 and 3 as well as a Nurse's Home and dining hall that still stand today. Unit 1 housed the most critical patients and contained operating suites, offices, kitchen, dining room, morgue and autopsy room, two movie theatres, an auditorium and bedside headsets for the patients.

The new four story Unit 2, Children's Preventorium, was designed by Morton Keast of Philadelphia and built by John McShain Inc. The central pavillion contained two wings, two indoor pools designed for tuberculosis patients, a library, four classrooms, excersise rooms, singe patient rooms, wards, an auditorium, lounges and a complete single family home for rehabilitation. 

Exterior of fourth floor single-family rehabilitation house.

Living room of rehabilitation house.

Boys and girls remained separate at all times in the sanatorium. The first floor of the preventorium was designed as a boys floor, with nurse's stations, while the second floor housed the girls. A typical day for a child at South Mountain would have started at 7:00am when they woke and received breakfast and then played indoors until 10:00am. Afterwards, they would drink milk from the wagon, have lunch and rest in bed for several hours. No talking or movement was allowed during this time. At 3:00pm, they would again line up for milk and shortly after, they would sit down for supper. Games were played inside the wards until 7:00pm and at that point, the children listened to the radio for an hour before 'lights out' at 8:00pm.

Lobby entrance to Unit 2. 

The children admitted to the South Mountain preventorium who had not yet developed tuberculosis depended on good air, rest, moderate exersise and good food, which was thought to be six raw eggs and three quarts of milk per day. The patients also underwent a number of treatments and procedures, including heliotherapy. This process would help build up their resistance to sunlight by exposing them to it gradually. If a patient had a more advanced disease, they might undergo surgery to help treat scar tissue build up in the lungs to make breathing easier. It was also common for Pneumothorax to be performed, a procedure which involved injecting air into the area around the lungs to help the lung collapse. A treatments such as this was not available to all patients, especially those with lung scar tissue. 

A typical patient room. This one would have contained 3 beds. 

In 1945, the treatment of tuberculosis changed when a new, effective antibiotic was discovered. Streptomycin was an antibiotic given via injection, but it was highly toxic, had a number of side effects and a few of the strains actually became resistant to the medicine. In 1952, isonazid proved to be even more effective, less toxic and a patient immediately became noninfectious. In the upcoming years, patients admitted to sanatoriums were now released in a matter of months or even treated in general hospitals.

Samuel G. Dixon State Hospital (1956-1968)

Though the campus was again renamed, not much changed at the facility. Adult patients continued to be regulated just like the children in Unit 2. Patients in Unit 1 were ranked on a scale of four Roman numerals, determining their health status. The Class I patients were forced to remain flat in bed for the solid twenty four hours a day, only sitting up for meals. Class II patients were bedridden and confined to a wheelchair when moving among the facility and they would bathe with the assistance of a doctor or nurse. Class III patients were "restricted" but engaged in a number of activities as permitted by their doctor. They were able to walk to treatment rooms and restrooms and would have solarium visiting rights to watch television. They also participated in church services and walked to the dining hall for one meal every day. Class IV patients experienced the most freedom. They were able to participate in all activities: making their bed, attending movies and religious services as well as spending all meals in the dining hall.

Patients in Unit 2 were free to sit on the lawn behind the unit, weather permitting, and even got the opportunity to visit Unit 1 on movie nights. These patients required a minimum of 4 hours rest per day, but were free to move about the campus as long as they checked in with their ward during designated times.

Patients in all of the units in the sanatorium followed strict rules. Their wardrobe consisted of pajamas and bathrobes. The men were required to shave once every two days, to avoid the collection of germs inside their facial hair.  Smoking was permitted only with doctor's permission.

The healthier patients in the outer units were given two weeks out of the sanatorium, but never during the holidays, as that was flu outbreak time. Educational courses were given to children between the ages of six and eighteen, but adults wanting to finish their high school diploma could also take these classes. Parents were allowed to visit their children in the Preventorium every other Saturday.

In 1961, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania still ran four tuberculosis hospitals including the Samuel G. Dixon State Hospital, but by 1963, the other three had closed. This signified a positive improvement in the treatment of the disease.

South Mountain Geriatric Center (1965-1968)

The state mental system in Pennsylvania by the 1900's was reaching a critical point. On average, the state hospitals were above capacity and approximately one-third of the mental patients were over the age of sixty-five. Most of these geriatric patients, when discharged, moved into the mental hospitals, but the mental hospitals did not provide adequate care for their medical and nursing needs. In turn, this caused the waiting list for patients needing serious mental care to increase rapidly. In 1964, the state approved the measures needed to establish geriatric facilities to care for these patients. Besides the South Mountain Geriatric Center, only one other geriatric hospital was founded in Pennsylvania.

At South Mountain, the new residents of the Geriatric Center, who transferred from Torrance State Hospital, lived on the first second and third floors of Unit 2, the old Children's Preventorium. Within the first two years, over 575 patients were admitted to the Geriatric Facility. On average, the patients were placed in a room with five beds. Wards were not locked, so procedures were taken to prevent patients from wandering and becoming confused.

The Samuel G. Dixon Hospital continued to operate within the other buildings on the campus. Unit 2 remained solely designated as the Geriatric Facility, but tuberculosis patients slowly began moving to the other hospitals in Pittsburg and Philadelphia. In 1972, the whole campus was devoted to Geriatrics, despite a long battle to re-open the tuberculosis hospital. 

Third floor salon. 

Mont Alto _MG_9521_22-Edit.jpg

In 1968, the Office of Aging lowered the age limit required for admittance into a Geriatric Facility from sixty-five to twenty-one. At the time, the center's policy stated that in order to be admitted to South Mountain, the patient must currently reside in a state mental hospital or state school for mental retardation, preferably over the age of sixty-five, and require medical care, but not institutional care for psychosis or tuberculosis. The patient must not have a drug or alcohol addition or be a danger to themselves or others. Admission priority went to those who had a greater possibility of re-entering the community after rehabilitation.

However, daily life for the patients at the facility did not always revolve around rehabilitation. An area known as "Mohler Den," which resembled a social club, was set up in Unit 2 as a place where patients could socialize and play cards.

In the early 1970's, the patient count reached about 1,100, but less than a decade later, it dropped to 800. The reduction in patients caused the gradual closing of a number of buildings on the campus. In October 1985, Unit 2 closed due to a deteriorating roof.

Today, VisionQuest, a facility for troubled youth still operates where the first preventorium once stood. The South Mountain Restoration Center also continues to provide medital, nursing and rehabilitative care as well as placement services for those leaving the facility. The Center also prides itself on creating a high level of functionining for those patients unable to return to society.

"For my friend Rita -- I guess I looked like this 26 years ago in 1944. The camera never lies. Youthfully yours, Bud"


  • Yelinek, Kathryn. The History of South Mountain Restoration Center 1901-2001. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 2001.
  • South Mountain (Mt Alto Sanitorium). Clyde A. Laughlin. York College of Pennsylvania.

Klotz Silk Throwing Mill

History of the Mill

In the early 1900's, local town banker, Duncan Sloan caught word that a major company with a string of mills was searching for a new location. Mr. Sloan emphasized that the surplus rail and cheap labor in the town, not to mention the access to rail and steady employment, would contribute to the mill's success. Five weeks after this meeting, the ball was rolling and plans were underway. The city and mill company began searching for funding, as the total cost of constructing and outfitting the mill was $100,000. In August, 1905, construction began and the Klotz Mill opened 2 years later, in 1907.

In the first few years, raw silk was imported from Japan and China, then spun into thread at the mill.

The throwing process consisted of twisting and winding silk into yarn. Workers were responsible for removing full spools, replacing them with empty ones, tying "silk knots" in broken thread, steaming, dying and stretching the silk. Once the silk thread was spun on the bobbins, quills or cones, it was shipped from the plant.

Klotz Silk Mill Employees, 1948

Klotz Silk Mill Employees, 1948

Mill operators were mostly women and in the beginning they belonged to the United Mine Workers Union, a direct effect of their spouses belonging to the same Union. Eventually the representation shifted and the laborers became members of the United Textile Workers of America.

Union rules and regulations in the early 1900's were very different than they are today. Monthly dues were fifteen cents and children as young as fourteen and fifteen worked at the mill and received checks.

When the Great Depression began, the mill, as with all other companies in the Unites States, suffered greatly. During the first few months of 1941, employment varied between 70 and 80 people, down from 200 in previous years. By December of that same year, only 5 people were on the mill payroll. A few short months later, in March, employment suddenly increased dramatically; a sign that the nation was at war.

During World War II, the supply of raw silk decreased due to the conflicts with Japan, which caused the mill to change focus and begin producing thread for military parachutes and rayon. Employment was up, production was high and the mill was flourishing. Unfortunately, once the war was over, it was evident production and employment was declining. Competition with larger companies began to take a toll on the small mill. Employment dropped to 100 and a labor dispute was causing uproar within the company.

Mill workers requested a pay raise to compete with nearby textile workers, causing mill superintendent to visit the company's headquarters. The request to raise the price of products, to help increase labor wages, was denied and a vote to strike was passed. When the workers began to strike in June 1957, the mill subsequently closed its doors. Only a very small staff of 4 continued to work at the mill for a number of years after production ceased.

The mill's closing had a big impact on the community. The small thriving town, once home to an Opera House, two newspapers, a glass factory and mine, was seeing the closing of the mill shortly after the mine ceased production, causing an economy collapse and decrease in population.

The Future of the Mill

To date, the mill has remained virtually untouched since it closed in 1957. Labor sheets, original silk labels from Japan, equipment and old documents still remain inside the mill. While its future remains uncertain, various plans are in the works to turn the site into a museum. Unfortunately the same remote location preventing vandals and thieves from destroying the place is also hindering the marketability of a historical site.


U.S.S. Holland AS-32 Submarine Tender


USS Holland (AS-32) was the second Hunley class submarine tender and the third Holland named in honor of John P. Holland, who built the first submarine commissioned by the Navy. USS Holland was commissioned on September 7, 1963 in Charleston, South Carolina.

Nuclear Facilities modification, 1968-1969

Rota Spain 1966-1969.jpg

Built a Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine Tender, the USS Holland's mission was to service submarines, replenish food supply, fuel and weapons and she was equipped with a machine shop for repairs.

Her first major mission started in 1964, lasting two years, in Rota, Spain where she took over for U.S.S. Proteus, restocking missiles and supplies to the Polaris Submarines.

In 1968, she received her first overhaul known as the ‘Nuclear Facilities,’ in Bremerton. It was and was completed in between 1968-1969 after the ship left the shipyard in Charleston, South Carolina. This gaping space lies in between the two cargo cranes, spanning from the hull of the ship to the 02 level. The tender would collect the contaminated water from the submarines she was tendering and recycle it here in this large space. The metal configuration at the bottom of this space would have supported a deck, however, during the radiation testing process, it’s likely contamination was found, causing it to be removed. 

After a few modifications in the United States, U.S.S. Holland set sail from Charleston, South Carolina (known as Site Four) to Holly Loch, Scotland. There, the ship added a few new crew members, including Jose Garcia, who shared with me the ship’s unpublished history, the crew’s stories.

Jose Garcia was a crane operator/deck force/weapons handler on U.S.S. Holland from 1975-1977. A typical day for Jose and the crew started at 0800 with a deck call, where they would be read the ‘Time of the Day’ and receive the day’s assignments.

Though many of the crews’ tasks were strenuous, dangerous and mundane, it paid off to complete the work well and in a timely manner so they remained in good standing with the officer. If they were lucky, they would be assigned a more desirable position, like Jose’s favorite job, crane operator. 

Other crew duties included preventative maintenance tasks, such as painting the deck. But there were also higher priority duties, including transferring missiles and supplies to the submarines as well as changing their batteries, which was no easy task. Each battery weighed just over 1,600 pounds and had to be stored in acid proof tanks, to prevent damage if a leak occurred. Daily maintenance was required to prevent dangers, such as the effects of batteries coming into contact with salt water.

During Jose’s time aboard U.S.S. Holland, it wasn’t uncommon to see a few submarines docked alongside the ship, especially in the evenings. 

Starboard-side hull

“They were always there,” Jose explained. “There wasn’t a day we didn’t have one. One would come in and one would leave and some of them would come in smashed up like they ran into someone. One came in with a sail yanked; they came across an underwater cable. Another one had a front smashed in. There were speculations and rumors, but nobody would know for sure.”

“I mean, it was fun. When the ships came alongside, sometimes we’d hide stuff and we’d barter and trade with another department; we mostly traded food.”

Downtime was a privilege for the ship’s crew. When they finished their tasks for the day, they would hang out with their friends in various parts of the ship. “We called it ‘skate loafin,’ off at a friend’s shop until someone was looking for you.”  

While they were relaxing, the crew often participated in less than acceptable activities, during which they were forced to be cautious in order to avoid getting caught while "secretly making moonshine in the engine room," or “smoking hash like crazy” in the Aft Engine room. 

Despite the fact that the crew enjoyed moments of laughter aboard the ship, moments of hardship did occur. Being confined to such tight ship quarters caused tempers to flare, which occasionally presented issues between crewmembers.

Jose explains, “Somebody dirtied their rack and the guy went and told the first class petty officer, chief. They wanted to know who did it and nobody said nothing. They grabbed the whole first class division and took us by the anchor cranes. They locked us in there. It was against the law. They weren’t going to let us out until someone said they did it. There was this guy, a total redneck, who would mock me, call me names like “Wetback,” and I would ignore him. My other Chicano friends asked why I didn’t stand up for myself. The guy was pretty big; I’m not stupid. They jumped him and broke his cheekbone, one of his ribs and his nose. They did it [when they were locked up] in there. I watched in horror. They opened the hatch and saw what happened and told them [everyone] not to say anything about it. They transferred him back to the states.”  

If the crew were on duty while the ship was in port, they would remain aboard the ship and spend the night in a bunk. However, at the end of many days a handful of crew members, including Jose, were given liberty, a chance to rest their ‘sea legs.’ In Jose’s case, he was able to return to his own apartment in Scotland.

Nuclear Facilities modification, 1968-1969

In 1977, Jose left the Navy, but U.S.S. Holland remained stationed in Scotland for a few years, where she received five consecutive Battle Efficiency “E” Awards, an award based on “overall readiness of the command to carry out its assigned wartime tasks and is based on a year-long evaluation.” In 1978, U.S.S. Holland was awarded a Battenberg Cup, honored as the only Submarine Tender, to date, to receive this award. She returned to Site Four in 1983, where she spent the next eight years performing retrofit repairs and services. She made history in 1989, when she performed the “first open-ocean mooring of a Ballistic Missile Submarine.”

U.S.S. Holland was outfitted with two different types of missiles, the Polaris and the Poseidon. In the 1960's, she received a modification removing the Polaris missile magazine, replacing it with a prefabricated, 250-ton Poseidon Magazine. She had sixteen main deck hatches allowing access to the magazine storage, which I had passed earlier in the day. One of the twin 30-ton cranes located above the hatches would pull the missiles from the magazine storage to the main deck for transfer to the submarines. U.S.S. Holland supported Poseidon missiles until she was decommissioned.

Missile magazine

Missile magazines, deck level

In early 1992, U.S.S. Holland underwent a conversion overhaul, outfitting her for the necessities to support Fast Attack Submarines. Later that same year, in July, U.S.S. Holland assumed full duties in Guam. Unlike many years prior, her last four years in service were spent at sea. She was decommissioned on April 13, 1996 in Apra Harbor, Guam, after which, she was transported to Washington for two years, where she was stripped down and checked for contaminants. In May of 2000, she was sent to the National Defense Reserve Fleet in Suisun Bay, California.


  • Garcia, Jose. Telephone Interview. 6 July 2009.