Jackson County is known for shipbuilding. Early settlers hand-crafted utility, fishing and local transportation boats to one-of-a-kind designs, but World War I saw explosive development of a modern industry. Dierks-Blodgett in Pascagoula, and Dantzle and Hodges shipyards in Moss Point were contracted to build eleven 281-foot long ocean-going cargo ships, each consisting of over a million board feet of southern pine. These shipyards closed after the war, but another, International Shipyard, continued until 1921. Located at the mouth of the Pascagoula River, this shipyard constructed three graceful five-masted barkentines. These 379-foot long ships were among the last sail-powered cargo ships built in the United States.
In 1938, Robert Ingalls of Ingalls Iron Works in Birmingham, Alabama, established Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula. The new shipyard began constructing vessel using the revolutionary all-welded method. When World War II erupted, thousands of shipbuilders went to work and built more than 60 ships during the war - an average of one ship each month including escort aircraft carriers, submarine tenders, net layers and troopships.
After WWII, Ingalls returned to the civilian market with cargo ships and passenger
liners. With an eye toward the future, Ingalls in 1955 redesigned one of its shipways to
accommodate the construction of submarines for the U.S. Navy. During the late 1960's the ultra-modern "Shipyard of the Future," became the first major shipyard built in the U.S. since WWII. Ingalls began producing ships faster and more efficiently using modular construction techniques. Other innovations, like the facility's ship launch and recovery process, positioned Ingalls as "America's Shipyard." Contracts quickly followed for Spruance-class and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers and large flat-top amphibious assault ships.
Today, Ingalls Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, continues the development and production of technologically advanced, highly capable warships for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Marine Corps. Huntington Ingalls is Jackson County's (and Mississippi's) largest employer.
[Photo Caption]: USS Cole (DDG 67) built at Ingalls in 1996, was repaired at Ingalls in 2002, following a terrorist attack.