The site now occupied by Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach Detachment Norco was once a playground of the rich and famous. In 1928 City of Norco founder Rex B. Clark built a 700-acre resort hotel complex on the site that included a lakefront casino, golf course and airport. The location became a hit with Hollywood celebrities, but experienced tough times following the stock market crash of 1929.
On December 6, 1941, one day before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Clark agreed to sell the complex to the Navy for use as a naval hospital. Naval Hospital, Corona was established on December 15, and served wounded Sailors and Marines throughout World War Two. The hospital was disestablished in 1949, but was reestablished in 1951 to care for casualties of the Korean War.
Also in 1951, as the Navy's guided missile development efforts began to expand, personnel from the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) Missile Development Division began arriving. The organization was designated as NBS Corona Laboratory in 1952 and initially shared property with the naval hospital. In 1953, the NBS laboratories were transferred to the Department of Defense, and the Corona Laboratory was re-designated as Naval Ordnance Laboratory, Corona.
This was just the beginning of what would become a long and proud history of weapons research and assessment work at the Corona site, culminating with work done by the detachment's current primary tenant, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Corona Division.
The naval hospital was permanently closed in 1957, and in 1962 this portion of the property was turned over to the State of California to be used as a narcotics addicts rehabilitation center, and later as a prison.
In 1971 weapons operations in the Southern California area were consolidated, with assessment work at Corona coming under the command of Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach. Throughout the ensuing decades, several additional re-organizations took place as the Navy sought to maximize efficiencies in both its weapons laboratories as well as its shore-based infrastructure in general.
In July 2005, the Corona site was re-designated as a detachment of Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, with the facility's primary tenant, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Corona Division, retaining its own command structure.
Finally, in 2011 the installation's name was changed to Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach Detachment Norco to more accurately reflect its location and strong ties to the local community.
Read more about Detachment Norco's economic impact to the local community HERE.