Hole in the Head - Bodega Bay, CA

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Real Estate Broker/Owner CalBRE# 01433049

Hole in the Head - Bodega Bay, CA

 

I'll be the first to admit this photo doesn't look like much, but it's what you don't see that speaks louder than words.

What looks like a small round pond, started out as a man-made hole that spreads 142 feet across and 120 feet down. You could lower a 10 story building into this hole if it wasn't filled with rain water.

This hole, known as "Hole in the Head", was not dug to provide the public with a place to swim. This was going to be the location of a nuclear power plant. The utility company behind it (Pacific Gas & Electric) was building "the biggest boiling water reactor yet scheduled". The plan was to boil ocean water ... the Pacific Ocean.

"Hole in the Head" is located on Bodega Head (hence the name) in Bodega Bay, CA. From the beginning, this "project" was scrutinized by a handful of feisty Bodega Bay citizens. The County, at the time, referred to these critics as "nervous Nellies" whose fear of Nuclear energy was nothing more than lack of knowledge.

All of this was taking place in the early '60s, and Geologists didn't understand tectonics as they do today. Neither did the protesters, but they knew that a nuclear reactor didn't belong 100 yards away from the Pacific. Over the next several years, the critics notified newspaper reporters and talked their way into radio stations to spread the word.

This was how a Geophysicist, Pierre Saint-Amand, heard about the nuclear reactor being built on Bodega Head. He came to take a look, becoming the first to observe the sites proximity to the San Andreas fault. Saint-Amand then alerted the Atomic Energy Commission who ultimately shut the project down in 1964.

Today, we still have "Hole in the Head" to remind us how Japan's recent nuclear disaster could have been our own. Instead of a nuclear power plant, we have a deep hole filled with fresh, clear, uncontaminated water.

 

* A look at "Hole in the Head" in the early '60s.

 

Posted by

 

Cynthia Larsen (707-332-2560) is an independent real estate referral broker in Sonoma County, California as well as a Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist.

CA Broker License #01433049

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Rainmaker
4,160,424
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Cynthia, this water hole looks and sounds better than a nuclear power plant!

May 17, 2011 01:41 AM #16
Rainmaker
689,750
Cynthia Larsen
Cotati, CA
Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA

Mike - yes, it is a scary story. It was hard to believe the first time I heard it.

William - thank you for sponsoring the contest. It was fun to tell an interesting story from a photo that didn't say much.

Craig - a nuclear power plant would have been devastating to this County. I don't think it would be the Wine Country that it is today.

Melinda - LOL, no it isn't stocked with fish, but it could be!

Scott - crazy, yes!

Joan - I couldn't agree more!

May 17, 2011 04:55 AM #17
Rainmaker
433,632
Kristine Ginsberg
Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC - Short Hills, NJ
NJ Home Stager

Cynthia - you're right - it's so much more than just a photo but a reminder of what could have been. So nice to see that it is just a beautiful little lake!

May 17, 2011 06:35 AM #18
Rainer
135,586
Margie Kopp Sorrell
Coldwell Banker Lake Oconee Realty and Lake Country - Greensboro, GA
Lake Oconee Real Estate

Cynthia- Who would have ever known just from the looks of the picture that the hole is 120 feet deep! That's unbelievable. There was an old rock quary where I used to live that was flooded and it turned into a big swimming hole for everybody. Been there many a time!

May 17, 2011 08:22 AM #19
Rainmaker
689,750
Cynthia Larsen
Cotati, CA
Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA

Kristine - such a simple photo that means so much!

Margie - it's a drop-off too, forget about wading! Funny, we used to swim in our towns gravel pit that filled with water!

May 17, 2011 09:15 AM #20
Rainmaker
2,600,137
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Cynthia - We've certainly had recent reason to understand why those "nervous nellies" of Bodega Bay were right to scrutinize this project.  I believe there are certain places around the country that should never be considered for nuclear power.  And California because of it's numerous earthquake faults (known and unknown) is one of them.  Neat photo, and story to accompany it.

May 17, 2011 09:28 AM #21
Rainmaker
689,750
Cynthia Larsen
Cotati, CA
Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA

Myrl - thanks ... when I saw the footage of the tsunami hitting Japan I shuddered. That could have happened right here in my back yard. Those nervous nellies were ahead of their time!

May 17, 2011 09:35 AM #22
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Deb Brooks
Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas - Wichita Falls, TX

Cynthia! This had the element of surprise in your story! Anyone would have a hole in their head to put a nuclear plant in! Thanks, I enjoyed this!

Love, Nellie

May 17, 2011 01:43 PM #23
Rainmaker
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Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage - Brampton, ON
Our Family Wants To Help Your Family!

Cynthia, this is a beautiful picture.  The exact location to take a break and get away from the madding crowd.  Good Luck!

May 18, 2011 02:19 AM #24
Rainmaker
689,750
Cynthia Larsen
Cotati, CA
Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA

Deb/Nellie - I agree completely!

Al & Peggy - I lucked out and had a sunny day for this photo, right before a storm blew in!

May 18, 2011 03:59 AM #25
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Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI
(RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE

Interesting history behind the 'pond' and surely they foresaw the future damage of such a project. In any case, an interesting entry for sure!

May 18, 2011 02:50 PM #26
Rainmaker
717,706
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Its so nice that you have a place to swim and NOT a nuclear power plant!

May 18, 2011 04:56 PM #27
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. 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC
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Cynthia~

The history of this place is remarkable...and I feel as if I have had the opportunity to meet the historian...Like Myrl, I agree that there are places on this Blue Planet that require stewardship...the "hole in the head" you photographed now safe and clear, could have turned out to be just that had a watchful community been passive...

May 19, 2011 02:35 AM #28
Rainmaker
689,750
Cynthia Larsen
Cotati, CA
Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA

Sally - the public saw the danger ... the utility company most likely saw dollar signs.

Ruthmarie - Now that I know where Hole in the Head is and have seen it, the impact on me is enormous.

Asheville - my local paper brought the subject up once again after the Japan disaster. I decided then to do some research and visit Hole in the Head with my camera.

 

May 19, 2011 03:54 AM #29
Rainmaker
2,071,643
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
DFW FINE PROPERTIES - Fort Worth, TX
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Cynthia,

I am speechless. It's the untold stories like this that is essential for generations to come to know and understand about making choices and their consequences. Hole in the Head is an historical piece of history that commands reverence and respect.

Yours is a story worth remembering. It's more than a contest entry - it's vital for people to know and to take away something to learn from that's well worth knowing.

My heart is still in my throat!

Patricia

May 19, 2011 06:29 AM #30
Rainmaker
689,750
Cynthia Larsen
Cotati, CA
Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA

Patricia - it's a pretty amazing story. This whole thing started over 50 years ago and should never be forgotten.

May 19, 2011 10:11 AM #31
Rainer
213,389
Anthony Ebright - NMLSR ID #247647 Purchase and Refinance Mortgages
FHA, VA, Conforming, Jumbo - Wells Fargo Home Mortgage - Santa Rosa, CA

That's an incredible story! How did you come across it? I've got to share this one with my friends.

May 22, 2011 07:56 AM #32
Rainmaker
689,750
Cynthia Larsen
Cotati, CA
Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA

Anthony - I have heard bits and pieces of this story over the years. Gaye LeBaron wrote about Hole in the Head in the Press Democrat shortly after the Japan disaster. After finding out where the hole is I decided I had to see it for myself. Pretty amazing, huh? And right in our own back yard!

May 23, 2011 02:53 AM #33
Rainer
213,389
Anthony Ebright - NMLSR ID #247647 Purchase and Refinance Mortgages
FHA, VA, Conforming, Jumbo - Wells Fargo Home Mortgage - Santa Rosa, CA

I can't wait to see it! BTW- I talked about you in my blogging class today! You were my superstar example for the class. Hopefully, I provided the students with enough excitement for them to start blogging. Thanks for setting the bar!

May 24, 2011 03:27 PM #34
Rainmaker
689,750
Cynthia Larsen
Cotati, CA
Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA

Anthony - LOL, a superstar? No, just someone who found her voice and now can't shut up :)

May 25, 2011 05:19 AM #35
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