Boston Navy Yard
WELCOME to The Boston or
Charleston Navy Yard
Boston Navy Yard, originally called the Charlestown Navy Yard and
after 1945 called Boston Naval Shipyard, was one of the oldest
shipbuilding facilities of the United States Navy.
Established in 1801, it was officially closed
July 1, 1974, and the 30-acre property was transferred to the National
Park Service to be part of Boston National Historical Park. Enough of
the yard remains in operation to support the USS Constitution.
The USS Cassin Young, a World War II-era
destroyer serving as a museum ship, is also berthed here. Among people
in the area and the National Park Service, it is still known as the
Charlestown Navy Yard.
The earliest naval shipbuilding activities in
Charlestown, Massachusetts began during the American Revolutionary
War. The land for the Charlestown Navy Yard was purchased in 1801 and
the yard itself established shortly thereafter. The yard built the
first US ship of the line, USS Independence, but was primarily
a repair and storage facility until the 1890s, when it started to
build steel ships for the "New Navy". By now, it was called
the Boston Navy Yard.
On June 24, 1833, the staff and dignitaries
including Vice President Martin Van Buren, Secretary of War Lewis
Cass, Secretary of the Navy Levi Woodbury, and many Massachusetts
officials, witnessed "one of the great events of American naval
history": the United States frigate Constitution was inaugurating
the first naval dry-dock in New England. On March 14, 1975 the
historic ship floated out of the dock--the last commissioned vessel to
use the facility.
The Ropewalk supplied cordage used in the Navy
from the time it opened in 1837 until the Yard closed in 1975. After
the Civil War, the Yard was downgraded to an Equipment and Recruit
In the 1890s, the Navy began expanding and that
brought new life to the Yard. In the first years of the 20th century,
a second dry-dock was added.
During WWII, it worked to fix British Ships
damaged by the Germans. In the post war period, it worked on
modernizing vessels through Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization
(FRAM). The Korean War and Vietnam War didn't bring much work to the
Yard since it was so far from the fighting.
The Yard closed after the Vietnam War ended and
now, as part of the Boston National Historical Park, it has a new
mission: "to interpret the art and history of naval
The Yard hosts many attractions. The fully
commissioned USS Constitution and the museum ship USS Cassin
Young (DD-793) are tied up at Pier 1 and open to the public (as
the Constitution is a US Navy ship, consult her official
website before visiting).
The Navy Yard also hosts the USS Constitution
Museum. Dry-dock No. 1 is still used for ship maintenance, mostly on
The Yard is at one end of the Freedom Trail and
is seen by thousands every year. The MBTA Water Shuttle stops at
nearby Pier 3, providing easy visitor access to the Yard.
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