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Hole in the Head: The Battle for Bodega Bay and the Birth of the Environmental Movement


The Sonoma County Museum is hosting “Hole in the Head,” an exhibition that chronicles the story of the nuclear power plant proposed for construction at Bodega Head in 1958 and its defeat by members of the local community in 1964, fifty years ago this October. Many North Bay environmental activists, including Ernestine Smith, David Pesonen, Hazel Mitchell, and Rose Gaffney, were involved in the move to stop the development of the Bodega Bay nuclear power plant, and digital copies of some of the materials that represent their legacy can be found in our North Bay Digital Collections. The battle initiated the anti-nuclear movement nationally; it also transformed the nature of civic engagement. Everyday people fought, successfully, to make their voices heard in the post-war era of the up-to-then largely unchallenged alliance of government, industry, and science. The SSU Library Special Collections Department contributed material from the Ernestine Smith Papers to the “Hole in the Head” exhibition, on display from November 2, 2014 through February 9, 2015. To make an appointment to view any of the original documents in the Library’s environmental history collections, contact the Special Collections Department.