Naval Shipyard Portsmouth is a military shipyard belonging to the United States Navy and located between two states – New Hampshire and Maine. It is one of the oldest facilities operated by the US Navy and is often confused with a similar base in Portsmouth, but in Virginia. The base spreads over 54 acres and is led by L. Bryant Fuller. Although it is named after a nearby city, it is actually located in Kittery.
The beginnings of NS Portsmouth are highly connected with the president of those times – John Adams, who clearly supported the idea of this base. Built in the summer of 1800, the base is older than two centuries and represents the oldest and most impressive facility in the United States Navy that continuously worked over these years. The base was commissioned in 1800, but the history of this site is way longer. In fact, the rich forests in the immediate proximity have supported hundreds of wooden ships throughout the history. The first known ship built there was Falkland and was owned by the British forces.
The first production coming out of the base was Washington. It was built under the monitoring of a local expert and was complete in 1814. It was fitted with 74 guns. Plenty of different facilities and constructions were built during the 19-th century. In fact, the base has been throughout a continuous improvement and update even since it was built. In 1820, the first barracks showed up. A few more for Marines were added in 1827. Seven years later, the inhabitants got to benefit from their first hospital. Some of the “personal” records established in the 19-th century include the largest wooden ship built on site – Franklin – and one of the most popular and famous ships – Constitution. Constitution was also referred to as Old Ironsides among the experts.
If NS Portsmouth was used to host the prisoners of war during the American war with the Spanish forces, things got back to normal by World War I. There were a few hundred civilian workers on site before the war. During the war, there were more than 5,000. The base also began building submarines. It was the first base of the United States Navy that had the capacity to build and repair submarines. By World War II, more than 25,000 civilians were employed on site. Over 70 submarines were built during World War II. The most effective day saw four of them released within 24 hours. After the war, the installation was said to be the most effective one in the United States Navy.
Starting with 1969, the submarine building capacities lost their intensity. The base got responsible with ship building missions only. At the same time, it was still supporting reparation and modernization work for submarines. In 2005, NS Portsmouth was supposed to be closed. It was marked by the Base Realignment and Closure commission for closure. The employees led a campaign to convince the commission keeps the installation alive and they succeeded.