History: Brooklyn Naval Yard

Brooklyn Navy Yard Dry Dock
(Courtesy Bob Stonehill)

The Brooklyn Navy Yard, on Wallabout Bay, was established by the federal government in 1801. By the Civil War, the Yard had expanded to employ about 6000 men. On the eve of World War I, the yard contained more than five miles of paved streets, four drydocks ranging in length from 326 to 700 feet, two steel shipways, and six pontoons and cylindrical floats for salvage work, barracks for marines, a power plant, a large radio station, and a railroad spur, as well as the expected foundries, machine shops, and warehouses. In 1938, the Yard employed about ten thousand men.

The Yard was the site for the construction of Robert Fulton's steam frigate, Fulton, launched in 1815. In 1890, USS Maine was launched from the Yard. The battleship Arizona, commissioned in 1916, was built in the Yard, and the battleship Missouri was launched from the Yard in 1944.

The Navy decommissioned the Yard in 1966, but it became an area of private manufacturing and commercial activity. Now the Yard has over 200 tenants with more than 3500 employees, and is managed and operated by the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation for the City of New York.

Launch of the Missouri
(Courtesy Naval Historical Center)

USS Arizona in San Diego
(Courtesy Louis Mancuso)
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