Washington Navy Yard: Serving the Fleet

Washington Navy Yard: Serving the Fleet (HM6YX)

Location: Washington, DC 20003
Country: United States of America

N 38° 52.616', W 76° 59.71'

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Tour of Duty

— Barracks Row Heritage Trail —

In front of you is the main gate of the Washington Navy Yard, established in 1799. It is the U.S. Navy's oldest shore facility in continuous use. Over time, workers here have built and repaired ships and their fittings, designed and developed ordnance (weapons and ammunition), and provided administrative support for the fleet.

Although city designer Pierre L'Enfant planned a commercial center for the site, its access to water and nearby timber made it a natural for ship building. The original gate, now topped by an 1878 addition, was designed in 1805 by architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, the second architect of the U.S. Capitol.

The Navy Yard was nearly destroyed during the War of 1812. As British troops advanced on the city, the yard's commandant, Captain Thomas Tingey, ordered workers to set fire to buildings to keep them from the enemy. They spared only the Commandant's House, officers' quarters and the main gate. The Navy Yard was quickly rebuilt after the British withdrew.

The 22 vessels built here from 1806 until 18-1854 ranged from small 70-foot gunboats to the 246-foot steam frigate Minnesota. During this period, workers also repaired hundreds of ships and manufactured equipment, including anchors and chain cables. Engineers experimented with steam-powered warships.

The Navy Yard was the city's first reliable large employer. Unlike most southern enterprises, it offered well-paying skilled and unskilled jobs to both free Blacks and hired-out slaves. In addition, for more than a century, the Navy Yard was Washington's ceremonial gateway, welcoming important visitors to the nation's capital. (With thanks for research by Edward J. Marolda, Senior Historian, Naval Historical Center.)

HM NumberHM6YX
Marker Number9
Placed ByCultural Tourism DC
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, September 5th, 2014 at 3:48pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 326928 N 4305011
Decimal Degrees38.87693333, -76.99516667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 52.616', W 76° 59.71'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 52' 36.96" N, 76° 59' 42.60" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)202
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1101-1199 8th St SE, Washington DC 20003, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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