"Boston... must always remain, a Building place & a place of Rendezvous for our Navy..."
- Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Stoddert to President John Adams, April 25, 1800
The Charlestown Navy Yard built, repaired, modernized, and resupplied ships for 174 years. From here ships and the sailors serving aboard set off to places around the globe. The ships that left this yard represented the United States on every continent and defended the nation through both times of war and peace. The generations of workers at this yard took pride in the significance of what they contributed and the work that they completed. For many sailors, this was the last place they might touch American soil for months, years, or perhaps never again.
Operationally, the yard saw many periods of expansion and decline as the policies of the United States changed over the course of two centuries. Technologically, the yard saw constant transformation and acted as a hub of innovation. When the yard opened it serviced wooden sailing ships and employed tradesmen such as carpenters, ropemakers, and ship riggers. When the yard closed in 1974, the yard had welders, electricians, machinists, ironworkers, pipefitters and engineers.
Explore this extensive history through learning about the ships the Navy Yard built and the people who worked and served here.
Learn More about the Charlestown Navy Yard
Last updated: April 5, 2022