On December 8, 1941, sixty miles from the ocean, the US Navy rolled into Norco. There, on the grounds of the former Norconian Resort, the federal government built what may have been the finest and most complete World War II naval hospital in the nation. The first patients to arrive were those wounded during the attack on Pearl Harbor; they were cared for in luxurious rooms once reserved for movie stars. By 1945, approximately 5,000 sailors and Marines were being treated. In 1951, the smartest physicists, engineers, and mathematicians in the world set up laboratories in the hospital's tubercular wards and entered into the Cold War. Today the hospital is gone, but the magnificent buildings and top secret naval laboratory remain, along with thousands of photographs of one of the most historic and colorful sites in America.
About the Author
Author Kevin Bash is an educator and member of the Norco City Council. During the last few years, he has compiled interviews, historical research, and photographs of the Norconian Resort, the US Naval Hospital, the Naval Surface Warfare Center, and the California Rehabilitation Center. His wife and coauthor, Brigitte Jouxtel, is an internationally known photographer with a prominent studio in Los Angeles. Both are longtime residents of Norco.