Coronado’s surprising role in submarine history.

It’s widely known that Coronado’s North Island is the birthplace of naval aviation. But did you know that shortly before World War I, Coronado was also home to a training school for submariners?

Camp Richardson, which was located on a block of First Street just north of the Ferry Landing, served as the homeport of the United States’ very first Pacific Submarine Fleet. This is one of many interesting facts you’ll learn should you enjoy A View from the Periscope, which is the current exhibit at the Coronado Historical Association‘s museum.

A View from the Periscope focuses primarily on twenty-eight works of art. The Coronado Historical Association’s website explains how these pieces of artwork from the Naval History & Heritage Command’s Navy Art Collection are on loan for the exhibition. Throughout the museum gallery visitors can view paintings of submarines in different settings and their working crews. The website further explains that many of the artists featured are affiliated with the Navy’s Combat Art Program, which places artists on board navy ships on duty and in combat.

But there’s much more to discover in this exhibition! When I walked through it a few days ago, what interested me most were displays that concern local history.

Not only did I learn about short-lived Camp Richardson, but I was surprised to read how the submariners in training, as they practiced diving and firing torpedoes, would put on pre-announced shows in San Diego Bay for tourists staying at Coronado’s Tent City!

I was also surprised to learn that a Coronado artist, a member of the San Diego Fine Arts Guild, was instrumental in successfully camouflaging naval vessels during World War II.

His name was Dayton Brown. His novel approach to camouflage involved mimicking the natural environment, eventually utilizing only two color shades like Haze Grey or Ocean Gray.

Until I visited this exhibition, I had no idea!

A View from the Periscope continues through January 2023.

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Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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