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Boston Navy Yard/Charlestown Navy Yard

Charlestown Navy Yard

The Boston Navy Yard, also known as the Charlestown Navy Yard and Boston Naval Shipyard, is one of the oldest facilities in the U.S. Navy. It opened in 1801 and lasted as an active naval installation until 1974. Thirty acres of the yard eventually became part of Boston National Historical Park when it was transferred to the National Park Service upon its closing.

The Boston Navy Yard  was constructed on land that was previously known as Morton’s Point, the area where the British army landed before the Battle of Bunker Hill. The facility, which was originally called the Charlestown Navy Yard (many people in the area still refer to it by this name), was soon the home of the original USS Independence.

The name itself has an interesting history. Because Navy tradition dictates that a shipyard be named after the closest, largest city, the area was known somewhat officially at the U.S. Navy Yard, Boston. But that didn’t stop people from calling it the “navy yard at Charlestown” and the “navy yard at Boston” as well. In fact, these two terms were often used interchangeably in both Congressional legislation and everyday correspondence. Even though it opened at the turn of the 19th century, the facility didn’t officially become the Boston Naval Shipyard until November 1945.

Revolutionary War Roots

While the area was not officially established until 1801, its roots as a shipbuilding facility actually go back to the American Revolutionary War. One of the first naval ships, the original USS Independence, was built on the property. However, the yard was used mostly as a storage and repair area for the next 90 years until the Navy converted it into a full-time shipbuilding facility to construct its new line of steel vessels.

Historical Significance

Dry Dock 1, built at the Boston Navy Yard in 1827, was one of the first two of its kind built in the U.S. Even though not much was known about either geo-technology or hydraulics at the time, a team of engineers successfully built the dry dock and it eventually served the Navy for more than a century. In addition, the die-lock chain was invented at the Boston Navy Yard and later refined for production in 1926. This chain, which features an oval link with two center bars, was essential in building tank landing ships that played an important role in Allied invasions of enemy shores during World War II.

Working at a Fever Pitch

The yard was also the birthplace of several destroyers that saw a great deal of battle during the Second World War. By the time the U.S. entered the conflict, more than 50,000 builders were producing vessels by working on three shifts, seven days a week. The pace of construction was so rapid that the Charrette and Conner destroyers were completed in only 93 days. The Boston Navy Yard ceased construction of new destroyers on October 6, 1943.

Later Years

After World War II, the Navy turned the Boston Navy Yard into a facility that modified ships for use during the Cold War. The Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization program was the last substantial work the yard saw until the Navy termed the Boston Navy Yard obsolete in the early 1970s. Transference to the National Park Service officially took place on July 1, 1974.

Asbestos and the Boston Navy Yard

As with all shipyards, asbestos was used at the Boston Navy Yard. Many enlisted personnel, as well as civilian employees, were exposed to asbestos. Asbestos was used in and on equipment such as pumps, boilers, turbines, valves and pipes. Most equipment has asbestos packing and gaskets. If you worked or served at the Boston Navy Yard and have suffered been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact the experienced attorneys at Belluck & Fox, LLP to schedule a free consultation.

Ships Built at the Boston Navy Yard

Hundreds of ships were built at the Boston Navy Yard prior to its closure in 1974. If you worked or served on any of the following vessels, you were likely exposed to asbestos:

Alfred Wolf (DE-544)
Amberjack (SS-522)
Bebas (DE-10)
Benewah (APB-35)
Bennett (DD-473)
Bennion (DD-662)
Bernalillo County (LST-306)
Bivin (DE-536)
Cabana (DE-260)
Canfield (DE-262)
Carlson (DE-9)
Charrette (DD-581)
Cloues (DE-265)
Colleton (APB-36)
Connor (DD-582)
Coronis (LST-1003)
Cowie (DD-632)
Creon (LST-1036)
Crouter (DE-11)
Deede (DE-263)
Dempsey (DE-267)
Dionne (DE-261)
Donner (LSD-20)
Doran (DD-634)
Duffy (DE-268)
Earle (DD-635)
Echols (APB-38)
Edward H. Allen (DE-531)
Eisner (DE-269)
Elden (DE-264)
Evarts (DE-5)
Fitch (DD-462)
Fleming (DE-271)
Forrest (DD-461)
Fort Mandan (LSD-21)
Fullam (DD-474)
George (DE-276)
Gillette (DE-270)
Grampus (SS-523)
Grenadier (SS-525)
Griswold (DE-7)
Groves (DE-543)
Guest (DD-472)
Gwin (DD-433)
Hall (DD-583)
Halligan (DD-584)
Haraden (DD-585)
Herzog (DE-277)
Heywood L. Edwards (DD-663)
Howard F. Clark (DE-533)
Hudson (DD-475)
Humboldt (AVP-21)
Hutchins (DD-476)
John J. Powers (DE-528)
John M. Bermingham (DE-530)
Knight (DD-633)
Lancetfish (SS-296)
Lewis (DE-535)
Lionfish (SS-297)
Lovering (DE-272)
Marlboro (APB-38)
Mason (DE-529)
Matagorda (AVP-22)
Meeker County (LST-980)
Mercer (APB-39)
Meredith (DD-434)
Millard County (LST-987)
Mineral County (LST-988)
Monmouth (LST-1032)
Mugford (DD-389)
Newcomb (DD-586)
Nicholson (DD-442)
Nueces (APB-40 / APL-40 / IX-503)
O’Toole (DE-274)
O’Toole (DE-527)
Osberg (DE-538)
Oswald A. Powers (DE-542)
Pickerel (SS-524)
Poseidon (LST-1037 / ARL-11)
Ralph Talbot (DD-390)
Richard P. Leary (DD-664)
Reybold (DE-275)
Richard P. Leary (DD-664)
Rizzi (DE-537)
Sanders (DE-273)
Seid (DE-256)
Sheehan (DE-541)
Silverstein (DE-534)
Smartt (DE-257)
Steele (DE-8)
Suffolk County (LST-1173)
Talbot County (LST-1153)
Tallahatchie County (LST-1154/AVB-2)
Tisdale (DE-278)
Tortuga (LSD-26)
Trippe (DD-403)
Trumpeter (DE-279)
Tweedy (DE-532)
Vandivier (DE-540)
Wagner (DE-539)
Walke (DD-416)
Walter S. Brown (DE-258)
Whetstone (LSD-27)
Whitney (AD-4)
Wilkes (DD-441)
William C. Miller (DE-259)
Wintle (DE-266)
Wyffels (DE-6)
APL-11 (Barracks Ship)
APL-12 (Barracks Ship)
APL-13 (Barracks Ship)
APL-32 (Barracks Ship)
APL-33 (Barracks Ship)
APL-34 (Barracks Ship)
BDE-3 (Escort Vessel)
BDE-4 (Escort Vessel)
LST-307 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-308 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-309 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-310 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-981 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-982 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-983 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-984 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-985 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-986 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-989 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-990 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-991 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-992 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-993 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-994 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-995 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-996 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-997 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-998 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-999 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-1000 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-1001 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-1002 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-1028 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-1029 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-1030 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-1031 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-1034 (Tank Landing Ship)
LST-1035 (Tank Landing Ship)
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