The park's creation was spurred by the construction of a Rosie the Riveter memorial in a city shoreline park (three years prior to the creation of the National Park), to honor the "Rosies", women who made up much of the workforce at the shipyards. The four Richmond shipyards with their combined 27 shipways, produced 747 ships, more than any other shipyard complex in the country. Richmond was home to 56 different war industries, more than any other city of its size in the United States. The city grew nearly overnight from 24,000 people to 100,000 people, overwhelming the available housing stock, roads, schools, businesses and community services.
The effort behind the memorial was initiated by then-Councilwoman Donna Powers. It grew under Project Director Donna Graves to become the first national tribute to home front American women.
The memorial is located at Marina Bay Park, the site of former Kaiser Richmond Shipyard #2. It is the length of a Liberty ship with a form of the ship being built. The simple metal pier represents the stern at the water's edge, a simple cylinder frame is the smoke stack, and the bow is made of prefabricated parts similar to those assembled by the shipyard workers. A timeline of World War II is placed along the walkway running the length of the memorial. Interpretive panels within the structures present information on women's history, labor history, and the Home Front.