Jul 8, 2023
During WWII, Japan controlled 90% of the world's rubber production, and the United States knew it needed to do something to protect itself in case the supply was cut off. On Dec. 7, 1941, Japan attacked the U.S., and the fear became a reality. With the country quickly using its reserves, the nation turned to an obscure desert plant called Guayule that had the potential to end our dependence on foreign rubber. Salinas was selected as the center of this massive undertaking, and overnight, millions of dollars and thousands of workers descended on the city. Then the war ended, and the project ended as quickly as it began. Plants and machines were destroyed, but the stories they made live on in the short but fascinating story of our city's history.