Brooklyn Navy Yard
The Brooklyn Navy Yard, formerly known as the New York Navy Yard has a very extensive and prosperous history. Founded in 1801 by the US federal government, it reached its peak during World War TII with astounding production levels, and a facility that included a power plant, radio station, railroad spur, two steel shipways as well as six pontoons. Unfortunately, it never regained its prosperity after World War II.
The Brooklyn Navy Yard was the pioneer of the first steam powered war ship which served as a great asset for the US forces in many wars. During the First World War, there were over 16,000 people employed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, all working in different aspects of production. It was at this time that the USS Arizona was created, which was later sunk during the invasion of Pearl Harbor. The USS Arizona was one of the biggest and most powerful ships produced at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
The Second World War was an even more prosperous time for the company. The USS Missouri was launched in 1944, and was one of the most influential ships in the war. Additionally, during this time there were over 70,000 employees and for the first time in their history, many of these employees were women. Many of these women worked as technicians as well as mechanics at a time when women were not usually able to secure these types of jobs.
However, after the war ended the Brooklyn Navy Yard began to experience a significant decline. By 1966, the plant had closed. However, it left behind a legacy of being the oldest active plant in the United States.
Brooklyn Navy Yard opened in 1637. In this year, 335 acres of Native American land was purchased, which would become the future home of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. In 1801, the US government purchased the land for forty thousand dollars and thus began the exciting history of one of the biggest ship producers of the time. In 1814, the first ship was built. It was a steam powered war ship called the Fulton Steam Frigate. After being used once, the ship remains as a receiving ship at the yard. By 1820, The Ohio was produced which became the first ship built at the yard that was actually put to use.
By 1837, the first steam warship was assigned to duty. In the 1840's, the yard played a very influential part in United States history by serving as headquarters for the US government's attempt to stop the slave trade.
However, it was during the First World War that the yard began to truly flourish. During this time, the Brooklyn Navy Yard employee base tripled. Shipbuilding began on a much more advanced level and production increased an incredible amount. Additionally, the ships that were produced during this time were also some of the most innovative ships in history. They were more durable with more fighting power than anything that had been produced in the past.
During the Second World War production again increased dramatically. The Brooklyn Navy Yard's employee base increased ten fold and they began producing an impressive amount of ships. Additionally, technology had advanced enough to make the process of shipbuilding much quicker, and the sheer power of the ships had also increased dramatically between World War I and World War II. The Brooklyn Navy Yard was one of the leading producers of ships in the US.
Although there are no longer any ships being produced at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, it is now an industrial park which houses more than 200 tenants. The history of the Brooklyn Navy Yard is one of the most interesting of all navy yards. It has had one of the most lucrative and extensive histories of all shipyards and some of the greatest ships in US war history were built here, making it a critical part of United States Naval history. What is unfortunate about the hey day of the Brooklyn Navy Yard is that many working there were exposed to asbestos on multiple occasions. Asbestos is associated the cancer mesothelioma and those who worked in any shipyard should closely monitor respiratory health.
Ships built by Brooklyn Navy Yard:
- USS Arizona
- USS Bache
- USS Bon Homme Richard
- USS Constellation
- USS Independence CV-62
- USS Iowa
- USS Missouri
- USS New Mexico
- USS New York
- USS North Carolina
- USS Oriskany
- USS Saratoga
- USS Sicily
- USS Tennessee
Last modified: December 28, 2010.