Washington DC Navy Yard is the first and most important shipyard the United States Navy ever had access to during its history. It is, therefore, the oldest military installation of this field. The facility is located in the southeastern part of Washington, DC. These days, the shipyard serves as an administrative center and hosts the headquarters of a few classified units and institutions. In 1998, the lack of care for this site has brought in the Superfund status. The places that are “awarded” with this status are very risky due to the high levels of contamination with hazardous and harmful substances. Once they are located, these places are taken through a comprehensive process that takes years, only to eliminate the potential risks over the inhabitants and the good going of the facilities. The center is still operated by the United States Navy.
The history of Washington DC Navy Yard has multiple aspects to cover. Although the installation was established with a military purpose, it has a cultural role too. Its history dates back to the summer of 1799. The authorities purchased the land for the construction, which began right away. It only took the workers a few months to set up the base. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on October, 2-nd, 1799. The base was also commissioned to the United States Navy in the same day. The first commander was Thomas Thingey. He remained in the function for almost three decades. The first years defined the future of this installation. It only took the base a few years to become the most important shipyard in the US Navy. It had a few dozen ships hosted on site, ranging in size and importance.
The War of 1812 is the first major battle that tried the abilities of Washington DC Navy Yard. The installation was not just dealing with all the ships requiring reparations and new designs, but also played a major role in defending the capital of the country, located in the immediate proximity. The upcoming two major wars – the American Civil War and World War I – didn’t change the primary mission and objectives of this facility too much. Things changed a little with World War II. During those years, the shipyard was the largest and most modern installation of its kind in the world. The machines and equipments developed during those years were used for many decades by the United States of America, in most of the wars they conducted.
In the spring of 1976, Washington DC Navy Yard was given the National Historic Landmark status.
When it comes to the cultural history of the base, it also stood up to the expectations with some of the most sophisticated research and scientific studies and developments. Whether you count the torpedoes used during the War of 1812, the bottle-like cannon from the American Civil War, the aircraft catapult or the huge gears used for the locks in the Panama Canal, all these things have been first developed at Washington DC Navy Yard.