Boston's Naval History

Sinking of USS Cumberland

Currier and Ives print

From its founding in 1630, Boston has always been an important port. The United States Navy recognized this in 1800 and built on the shores of nearby Charlestown one of the first six Navy Yards in the country. For nearly one hundred seventy five years Charlestown has played an important role in building, and maintaining, the United States Navy fleet.

Ship in a dry dock

Charlestown Navy Yard

Established in 1800,Charlestown Navy Yard served the fleet with distinction--especially proving its worth in each of the nation's wars--until its closing in 1974.

USS Constitution

USS Constitution

During the War of 1812, when USS Constitution won three battles against British warships, it became the nation's most famous naval vessel. Legend has it that a crew member, watching shot bounce off Constitution's thick oak hull, cried out that her sides were made of iron. Nicknamed "Old Ironsides", she is now the oldest commissioned ship afloat.

the 1797 frigate earned its nickname during the conflict

USS Cassin Young

USS Cassin Young

This World War 2/ Cold War Fletcher class destroyer saw service from 1945 to 1960 with a small gap in the late 1950s. She is an example of the type of ship built, repaired, and modernized in the Charlestown Navy Yard. Although built in California, fourteen Fletcher-Class destroyers just like her were produced at this yard.

Last updated: June 11, 2016

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