Philadelphia Naval Shipyard

The Navy Yard, formerly known as the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and Philadelphia Naval Business Center, was an important naval shipyard of the United States for almost two centuries.[2] It is now a large industrial park that includes a commercial shipyard, Philly Shipyard.

Philadelphia's original navy yard, begun in 1776 on Front Street and Federal Street in what is now the Pennsport section of the city, was the first naval shipyard of the United States. The new, much larger yard grew up around facilities begun in 1871 on League Island at the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers.

The United States Navy ended most of its activities there in the 1990s; subsequently, in 2000, the city of Philadelphia took over and began to redevelop the land. The Navy still has a Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility and a few engineering activities at the site.

The Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Aerial view of the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard Reserve Basin on 19 May 1955 (80-G-668655)
Reserve Fleet in Philadelphia in 1955
Site information
Controlled byUnited States Navy
Site history
Built1917 (League Island Facility)
In use1801–1995
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard Historic District
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard is located in Philadelphia
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard is located in Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard is located in the United States
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
LocationS. Broad St.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Coordinates39°53′28″N 75°10′43″W / 39.89111°N 75.17861°WCoordinates: 39°53′28″N 75°10′43″W / 39.89111°N 75.17861°W
Area1,200 acres (490 ha)
ArchitectRobert E. Peary; Karcher & Smith
Architectural styleModern Movement, Late Victorian
NRHP reference #99001579[1]
Added to NRHP22 December 1999
Commandant's Quarters
Commandants Quarters PNS
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard is located in Philadelphia
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard is located in Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard is located in the United States
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
LocationPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
ArchitectUS Department of the Navy
Architectural styleItalian Villa
NRHP reference #76001661[1]
Added to NRHP3 June 1976


Naval use

League Island Crane Philadelphia Naval Shipyard 1923
The "League Island Crane" with the destroyer USS Lamson in the foreground

The yard has its origins in a shipyard on Philadelphia's Front Street on the Delaware River that was founded in 1776 and became an official United States Navy site in 1801. From 1812 till 1865 it was a big production center. The first ship which was launched to the water was the USS Franklin. This event was watched by more than 50,000 spectators. The rapid development of other shipbuilding companies pledged Philadelphia to improve production processes. It was the first shipyard in the world which used floating dry docks in the building process to improve an operating time of the ships.[3] After the advent of ironclad warships made the site obsolete, new facilities were built in 1871 on League Island at the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers.

From early in the nineteenth century many Philadelphia workers agitated for a reduction in the arduous twelve hour workday. The workday in the Philadelphia Navy Yard prior to 1835 was sunrise to sunset, with time off for breakfast. In the summer of 1835 Philadelphia Navy Yard shipwrights, joiners and other workers became leaders in this effort when they chose to combine direct action, a strike, with political pressure to the executive branch. After first making a request to the Secretary of the Navy via shipyard Commandant Commodore James Barron, on 29 August 1835 they appealed directly to President Andrew Jackson. Commodore Barron endorsed his workers request with the following acknowledgment "I would respectfully observe – Seems to be inevitable, sooner or later, for as the working man are seconded by all the Master workmen, city councils etc. there is no probability they will secede from their demands."[1]

Their petition was granted and on 31 August 1835 the president ordered the Secretary of the Navy to grant the ten hour work day effective 3 September 1835. However, the change was only applicable to the Philadelphia Navy Yard. It was another 5 years before the ten hour day was extended to all government employees engaged in manual labor; this was accomplished via an executive order by President Martin Van Buren on 31 March 1840.[4]

The Naval Aircraft Factory was established at the League Island site in 1917. Just after World War I, a 350-ton capacity hammerhead crane was ordered for the yard. Manufactured in 1919 by the McMyler-Interstate Company in Bedford, Ohio, the crane was called the League Island Crane by its builder. Weighing 3,500 tons, the crane was shipped to the yard in sections, and it was the world's largest crane at the time.[5] The "League Island Crane" was for many years the Navy's largest crane.

Mustin Field opened at the Naval Aircraft Factory in 1926 and operated until 1963.

The shipyard's greatest period came in World War II, when the yard employed 40,000 people who built 53 ships and repaired 574. During this period, the yard built the famed battleship New Jersey and its 45,000-ton sister ship, Wisconsin. In the Naval Laboratory, Philip Abelson developed the liquid thermal diffusion technique for separating uranium-235 for the Manhattan Project.[6]

After the war, the workforce dropped to 12,000, and in the 1960s, new ships began to be contracted out to private companies. The yard built its last new ship, the command ship Blue Ridge, in 1970.

Scrapping Battleships 1923
Guns from battleships being scrapped in Philadelphia Navy Yard in December 1923. USS South Carolina being dismantled in the background.

The yard's closure was originally recommended in 1991 by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, as a result of foreign competition and reduced needs due to the end of the Cold War. The planned closing was unsuccessfully litigated to the US Supreme Court in Dalton v. Specter. Although local politicians tried to keep the yard open, it finally closed in 1995 with a loss of 7,000 jobs. Senator Arlen Specter charged that the Department of Defense did not disclose the official report on the closing. This resulted in a controversy that led to further legal disputes, to no avail. Since its transfer from the government, the west end of property has been leased to Aker Kværner, a tanker and commercial shipbuilding firm.

Post-naval use

The City of Philadelphia became the landlord and owner of The Navy Yard in March 2000, when the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development (PAID) took title to roughly 1,000 acres from The Navy. Currently, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) manages the planning, operation, and development of The Navy Yard on behalf of PAID and the City of Philadelphia. A comprehensive master plan was developed in 2004 to turn the former industrial yard to a mixed-use campus.

As of 2010, navy activities there include Naval Support Activity Philadelphia, the Naval Surface Warfare Center Ship Systems Engineering Station, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic Public Works Department Pennsylvania (NAVFAC MIDLANT PWD PA) and the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility (NISMF), which stores decommissioned and mothballed warships and auxiliary naval vessels.

The Navy Yard is home to 120 companies with 10,000 employees, as the campus continues to expand and develop. Clothing manufacturer Urban Outfitters consolidated its Philadelphia headquarters on the site, while Tasty Baking Company, makers of Tastykakes, has moved their bakery to the 26th Street side of The Yard. Other companies there include Rittenhouse Ventures, GlaxoSmithKline, Iroko Pharmaceuticals, Aker Philadelphia Shipyard, Rhoads Industries, Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub),, and Mark Group, Inc.

In January 2013, company announced about increasing the number of apartments for employees (near 1,000) and infrastructure development. This is made possible by the public financing of shipyards and investments of private companies. According to the plan for 2013 the number of employees at the shipyard amount to around 30,000 people.[7]

In March 2013, the Canadian Pacific – Bulkmatic Transport transload site on Langley Ave was closed.

In April 2013, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline opened a 205,000-square-foot building in The Navy Yard's Corporate Center.[8]

The memorial chapel to the Four Chaplains also sits on the grounds.[9]

The Athletic Base Ball Club of Philadelphia hosts the annual Philadelphia Base Ball Fair & Exhibition on the Navy Yard Marine Parade Grounds.

Notable ships

Mustin Field NAMC Phili NAN9-48
Aerial view NAMC Philadelphia, Mustin Field, and the shipyard in the mid-1940s
  • New Jersey
  • Wisconsin: Last keel laid for a completed battleship of the United States Navy, 25 January 1941[10]
  • The final ships built were LST-1179, LST-1180 and LST-1181 starting in 1969 and completed in early 1971.

See also


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (23 January 2007). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "The Navy Yard Philadelphia". Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  4. ^ Roediger, David R; Foner, Phillip Sheldon (1989). Our Own Time: A History of American Labor and the Working Day. London: Verso. pp. 39–41. ISBN 0860919633.
  5. ^ "McMyler-Interstate Co.." Bedford Historical Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 June 2010. <>.
  6. ^ "Resource Letter MP-2: The Manhattan project and related nuclear research". American Journal of Physics. 79 (2): 151–163. 24 January 2011. doi:10.1119/1.3533209. ISSN 0002-9505.
  7. ^ "Business booms at old naval shipyard in Philadelphia". Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  8. ^ "The Navy Yard Welcomes: GlaxoSmithKline". The Navy Yard. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  9. ^ Grills, Matt (20 January 2015). "More than a story". American Legion Magazine. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  10. ^ BB-64 was launched and commissioned before BB-63, in spite of a later keel-laying.

External links

Industrial, Philadelphia

Industrial, Philadelphia is a section in that covers southern portion of the South Philadelphia section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. This section contains the ports, industrial buildings and major corporations, including Philadelphia Gas Works, Sunoco, CSX Rail Yard and the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.

Industrial surrounds South Philadelphia West, South Philadelphia East and the eastern border of Queen Village. The north is bordered by Center City, Grays Ferry and University City. To its west is Kingsessing, Southwest Philadelphia and Eastwick. The Delaware Expressway and Penrose Ave are located in Industrial.

League Island

League Island was an island in the Delaware River, part of the city of Philadelphia, just upstream from the mouth of the Schuylkill River, which was the site of the Philadelphia shipyard, which eventually became the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, now known as The Navy Yard.

League Island no longer exists as an island, since the Back Channel, which separated it from the mainland, was closed at the eastern end to create land for Mustin Field, a military airfield that was closed in 1963. The western end of the channel became the present Reserve Basin, which holds the ships of the U.S. Navy's reserve fleet.

List of ship launches in 1936

The list of ship launches in 1936 includes a chronological list of some ships launched in 1936.

List of ship launches in 1960

The list of ship launches in 1960 includes a chronological list of all ships launched in 1960.

List of ship launches in 1969

The list of ship launches in 1969 includes a chronological list of all ships launched in 1969.

Marion Schultz

Marion Miloslavovich Schultz, also Marian Schultz was an asset of the New York KGB working within the immigrant community during World War II. Schultz was a Russian-born American citizen who worked as a mechanic in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and was the Chair of the United Russian Committee for Aid to the Native Country (Russian War Relief) and Slavic organizations. Schultz's cover name assigned by Soviet intelligence was 'LAVA'.

Mastery Charter School Thomas Campus

Mastery Charter School Thomas Campus, formerly the George C. Thomas Junior High School, is a public secondary charter school located in the south section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is run by Mastery Charter Schools. It is located at the intersection of 9th and Johnston Streets just north of the South Philadelphia Sports Complex. Nearby are the residential neighborhoods of Marconi Plaza, Lower Moyamensing, and Packer Park; the recreational parkland of FDR Park; and the historical and new business-development center of the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. The school is located within the boundaries of the Sports Complex Special Services District, directly on the Oregon Avenue urban corridor of small shops and restaurants anchored by larger shopping plazas on the east and west end of Oregon Avenue, and near the revitalized commercial area of Passyunk Avenue. It shares a site with the D. Newlin Fell School.

The school serves portions of South Philadelphia programmed for grades 7 through 12. It was previously part of the School District of Philadelphia. In 2009, a Charter School college-bound curriculum was established at George C. Thomas, and the interior building was renovated, along with the main entrance on the south side, facing Johnston Street.

Newport-class tank landing ship

Newport-class tank-landing ships are an improved class of tank-landing ship (LST) designed for the United States Navy. The ships were intended to provide substantial advantages over their World War II-era predecessors. Twenty were completed, of which twelve were eventually sold to foreign navies, while the remaining eight have since been decommissioned.

Philadelphia Experiment

The Philadelphia Experiment is an alleged military experiment supposed to have been carried out by the U.S. Navy at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, sometime around October 28, 1943. The U.S. Navy destroyer escort USS Eldridge (DE-173) was claimed to have been rendered invisible (or "cloaked") to enemy devices.

The story first appeared in 1955, in letters of unknown origin sent to a writer and astronomer, Morris K. Jessup. It is widely understood to be a hoax; the U.S. Navy maintains that no such experiment was ever conducted, that the details of the story contradict well-established facts about USS Eldridge, and that the alleged claims do not conform to known physical laws.

USS Adirondack (AGC-15)

The third USS Adirondack (AGC-15) was laid down on 18 November 1944 under a Maritime Commission contract by the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company in Wilmington, North Carolina; launched on 13 January 1945, sponsored by Mrs. E. L. White; transferred to the Navy on 4 February 1945; towed to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for conversion; and commissioned on 2 September 1945, the day Japan surrendered on board the battleship Missouri (BB-63) in Tokyo Bay, with Captain R. O. Myers in command.

USS Buck (DD-420)

The second USS Buck (DD-420), a World War II-era Sims-class destroyer in the service of the United States Navy, was named after Quartermaster James Buck, a Civil War Medal of Honor recipient. It was built by Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and launched in 1939. It was a member of the convoy carrying the US 1st Provisional Marine Brigade. She served during the Second World War. It was sunk by the German submarine U-616 on 9 October 1943 off the coast of Salerno, when it was working in support of Operation Avalanche. It received 3 battle stars for its services during the Second World War.

USS Cubera (SS-347)

USS Cubera (SS-347), a Balao-class submarine, was a ship of the United States Navy named for the cubera, a large fish of the snapper family found in the West Indies.

Cubera (SS-347) was launched 17 June 1945 by Electric Boat Co., Groton, Conn.; sponsored by Mrs. J. Taber; commissioned 19 December 1945, Lieutenant Commander R. W. Paine, Jr., in command; and reported to the Atlantic Fleet.

After shakedown training off New London, Cubera arrived at Key West, Fla., 19 March 1946. She tested sonar equipment, provided services to experimental antisubmarine warfare development projects in the Florida Straits, and joined in fleet exercises until 4 July 1947 when she sailed to Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for an extensive GUPPY II modernization.

Returning to Key West 9 March 1948 Cubera continued to operate locally out of this port, as well as taking part in fleet exercises in the Caribbean and Atlantic until 3 July 1952 when she arrived at Norfolk, her new home port.

Cubera appeared in Ray Harryhausen's It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955), playing an "atomic sub" used to dispatch the film's giant octopus.

Through 1957 Cubera conducted local operations, and participated in fleet exercises in the Caribbean, as well as cruising to Sydney, Nova Scotia, in June 1955. During 1959 and 1960, she was assigned to Task Force Alfa, a force conducting constant experiments to improve antisubmarine warfare techniques. With this group she cruised the western Atlantic from Nova Scotia to Bermuda.

USS Dahlgren (DDG-43)

USS Dahlgren (DLG-12/DDG-43) was the 7th ship in the Farragut-class guided missile destroyer in the United States Navy. She was launched on 16 March 1960 by Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and sponsored by Mrs. Katharine D. Cromwell, granddaughter of Rear Admiral John Adolphus Dahlgren. She was commissioned on 8 April 1961, Commander C. E. Landis in command. It was the third ship in the Navy to bear the name. Commissioned as DLG-12, Dahlgren was reclassified a guided missile destroyer on July 1, 1975 and given the new hull number DDG-43. The ship saw service until 1992, when she was placed in reserve. She was sold for scrapping three times, the first time in 1994, but was repossessed twice as the ship breaking companies failed. The ship was finally dismantled in 2006.

USS Dogfish (SS-350)

USS Dogfish (SS-350), a Balao-class submarine, was the only vessel of the United States Navy to be named for the dogfish.

Her keel was laid down on 22 June 1944 by the Electric Boat Company in Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on 27 October 1945 sponsored by Mrs. A. M. Morgan, and commissioned on 29 April 1946 with Commander T. S. Baskett in command.

Dogfish sailed out of New London, Connecticut, on local duties and cruised to the Caribbean Sea and Bermuda to conduct training. She was overhauled and extensively modernized at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard from August 1947 to April 1948, and then served in experimental projects as well as normal operations at New London. From 31 October to 19 November 1948 she took part in large-scale fleet exercises ranging from the waters off Florida to Davis Strait between Labrador and Greenland.

She cruised to Scotland, England, and France between 4 February and 3 April 1949 and joined in a convoy exercise off Cape Hatteras in February and March 1952, and operated along the east coast and in the Caribbean Sea during the next three years.

Dogfish sailed from New London on 1 March 1955 for her first tour with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea, returning to her home port 6 June. The submarine called at Halifax, Nova Scotia, from 4 June to 14 June 1956 during NATO Operation New Broom. On 8 November, she stood by and fought the fires on the trawler Agda during local operations out of New London. She cruised to Faslane Bay in Scotland between 31 January and 12 April 1958 to evaluate new equipment, and from 23 May to 8 August 1959 served in the Mediterranean Sea. In October and November, she took part in NATO antisubmarine warfare exercises. After extensive overhaul, the vessel resumed local operations from New London through 1960.

USS Guadalcanal (LPH-7)

USS Guadalcanal (LPH-7), the third Iwo Jima-class amphibious assault ship (helicopter), was launched by the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard 16 March 1963, sponsored by Mrs. David Shoup, wife of General Shoup, the former Commandant of the Marine Corps; and commissioned 20 July 1963, Captain Dale K. Peterson in command. It was the second ship in the Navy to bear the name.

USS Guam (LPH-9)

USS Guam (LPH-9), an Iwo Jima-class amphibious assault ship, was laid down by the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on 15 November 1962; launched on 22 August 1964, sponsored by Mrs. Vaughn H. Emory Green, and commissioned on 16 January 1965, Captain N. E. Thurmon in command. She was the third US Navy ship to carry the name, after the Battle of Guam.

Decommissioned in 1998, she was the last of the Iwo Jima class in service.

USS Interpreter (AGR-14)

USS Interpreter (AGR-14) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship acquired by the U.S. Navy in 1957 from the "mothballed" reserve fleet. She was reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Pacific Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line. The ship was built as the SS Dudley H. Thomas in 1945 for the Maritime Administration under the Emergency Shipbuilding program for World War II War Shipping Administration.

USS Norfolk

USS Norfolk may refer to:

USS Norfolk (1798) was a brig during the Quasi-War with France

Norfolk (CL-118) was a light cruiser renamed Chattanooga prior to construction

Norfolk (CA-137) was a heavy cruiser laid down in December 1944 at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, but construction was cancelled in August 1945

USS Norfolk (DL-1) was a destroyer leader/frigate in service from 1953 to 1970

USS Norfolk (SSN-714) is a Los Angeles-class submarine commissioned in 1983 and decommissioned in 2014.

USS Portunus (AGP-4)

USS Portunus (AGP-4) was an LST-1-class tank landing ship acquired by the U.S. Navy for use during World War II as a motor torpedo boat (MTB) tender. She was named after a Roman god of the sea, who had jurisdiction over ports and the shores.

Portunus was laid down as LST-330 by the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, 12 November 1942; launched 11 February 1943 as Portunus (AGP-4); and commissioned at Baltimore, Maryland, 12 June 1943, Lt. Comdr. James R. Hanna in command.

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