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Navy Yard YFB-8 - History

Navy Yard YFB-8 - History

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Navy Yard
(YFB-8: 1. 80'; b. 17')

Navy Yard (YFB-8) was built as Steam Cutter No. 291 by Norfolk Navy Yard in 1901 and placed in service the same year. Serving as a ferry between Norfolk and various naval installations in and arolmd Hampton Roads, Virginia, the ferry was named Navy Yard in 1908 and continued her operations there until December 1922 when she was ordered to the Naval Proving Ground, Dahlgren, Virginia.

Towed to that installation by tug Mohawk (YT-17), 12 March 1923, she plied the waters between Indianhead Naval Station and Dahlgren until March 1926, when she was placed in ordinary. She remained at Dahlgren, in ordinary, until she was towed to Norfolk by minesweeper Owl (AM-2), 20 April 1929. Navy Yard was struck from the Navy Register 12 July and sold shortly thereafter to a local scrap company.

Navy Yard (Washington, D.C.)

Navy Yard, also known as Near Southeast, is a neighborhood on the Anacostia River in Southeast Washington, D.C. Navy Yard is bounded by Interstate 695 to the north and east, South Capitol Street to the west, and the Anacostia River to the south. Approximately half of its area (south of M Street, SE) is occupied by the Washington Navy Yard (including the Naval Historical Center), which gives the neighborhood its name. The neighborhood is located in D.C.'s Ward 6, currently represented by Charles Allen. [1] It is served by the Navy Yard – Ballpark Metro station on the Green Line.


Naval use Edit

The yard has its origins in a shipyard on Philadelphia's Front Street on the Delaware River that was founded in 1776 and became an official United States Navy site in 1801. From 1812 till 1865 it was a big production center. The first ship which was launched to the water was the USS Franklin. This event was watched by more than 50,000 spectators. The rapid development of other shipbuilding companies pledged Philadelphia to improve production processes. It was the first shipyard in the world which used floating dry docks in the building process to improve an operating time of the ships. [3] After the advent of ironclad warships made the site obsolete, new facilities were built in 1871 on League Island at the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. [ citation needed ]

From early in the nineteenth century many Philadelphia workers agitated for a reduction in the arduous twelve hour workday. The workday in the Philadelphia Navy Yard prior to 1835 was sunrise to sunset, with time off for breakfast. In the summer of 1835 Philadelphia Navy Yard shipwrights, joiners and other workers became leaders in this effort when they chose to combine direct action, a strike, with political pressure to the executive branch. After first making a request to the Secretary of the Navy via shipyard Commandant Commodore James Barron, on 29 August 1835 they appealed directly to President Andrew Jackson. Commodore Barron endorsed his workers request with the following acknowledgment "I would respectfully observe – Seems to be inevitable, sooner or later, for as the working man are seconded by all the Master workmen, city councils etc. there is no probability they will secede from their demands."[1]

Their petition was granted and on 31 August 1835 the president ordered the Secretary of the Navy to grant the ten hour work day effective 3 September 1835. However, the change was only applicable to the Philadelphia Navy Yard. It was another 5 years before the ten hour day was extended to all government employees engaged in manual labor this was accomplished via an executive order by President Martin Van Buren on 31 March 1840. [4]

The Naval Aircraft Factory was established at the League Island site in 1917. Just after World War I, a 350-ton capacity hammerhead crane was ordered for the yard. Manufactured in 1919 by the McMyler-Interstate Company in Bedford, Ohio, the crane was called the League Island Crane by its builder. Weighing 3,500 tons, the crane was shipped to the yard in sections, and it was the world's largest crane at the time. [5] The "League Island Crane" was for many years the Navy's largest crane. [ citation needed ]

Mustin Field opened at the Naval Aircraft Factory in 1926 and operated until 1963. [ citation needed ]

The shipyard's greatest period came in World War II, when the yard employed 40,000 people who built 53 ships and repaired 574. During this period, the yard built the famed battleship New Jersey and its 45,000-ton sister ship, Wisconsin. In the Naval Laboratory, Philip Abelson developed the liquid thermal diffusion technique for separating uranium-235 for the Manhattan Project. [6]

After the war, the workforce dropped to 12,000, and in the 1960s, new ships began to be contracted out to private companies. The yard built its last new ship, the command ship Blue Ridge, in 1970. [ citation needed ]

The yard's closure was originally recommended in 1991 by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, as a result of foreign competition and reduced needs due to the end of the Cold War. The planned closing was unsuccessfully litigated to the US Supreme Court in Dalton v. Specter. Although local politicians tried to keep the yard open, it finally closed in 1995 with a loss of 7,000 jobs. Senator Arlen Specter charged that the Department of Defense did not disclose the official report on the closing. This resulted in a controversy that led to further legal disputes, to no avail. Since its transfer from the government, the west end of property has been leased to Aker Kværner, a tanker and commercial shipbuilding firm. [ citation needed ]

Post-naval use Edit

The City of Philadelphia became the landlord and owner of The Navy Yard in March 2000, when the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development (PAID) took title to roughly 1,000 acres from The Navy. Currently, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) manages the planning, operation, and development of The Navy Yard on behalf of PAID and the City of Philadelphia. A comprehensive master plan was developed in 2004 to turn the former industrial yard to a mixed-use campus. [ citation needed ]

As of 2010, navy activities there include Naval Support Activity Philadelphia, the Naval Surface Warfare Center Ship Systems Engineering Station, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic Public Works Department Pennsylvania (NAVFAC MIDLANT PWD PA) and the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility (NISMF), which stores decommissioned and mothballed warships and auxiliary naval vessels. [ citation needed ]

The Navy Yard is home to 120 companies with 10,000 employees, as the campus continues to expand and develop. Clothing manufacturer Urban Outfitters consolidated its Philadelphia headquarters on the site, while Tasty Baking Company, makers of Tastykakes, has moved their bakery to the 26th Street side of The Yard. Other companies there include Rittenhouse Ventures, GlaxoSmithKline, Iroko Pharmaceuticals, Aker Philadelphia Shipyard, Rhoads Industries, Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub), RevZilla.com, and Mark Group, Inc. [ citation needed ]

In January 2013, company announced about increasing the number of apartments for employees (near 1,000) and infrastructure development. This is made possible by the public financing of shipyards and investments of private companies. According to the plan for 2013 the number of employees at the shipyard amount to around 30,000 people. [7]

In March 2013, the Canadian Pacific – Bulkmatic Transport transload site on Langley Ave was closed.

In April 2013, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline opened a 205,000-square-foot building in The Navy Yard's Corporate Center. [8]

The memorial chapel to the Four Chaplains also sits on the grounds. [9]

The Athletic Base Ball Club of Philadelphia hosts the annual Philadelphia Base Ball Fair & Exhibition on the Navy Yard Marine Parade Grounds. [ citation needed ]


Shooting begins Edit

Alexis left a Residence Inn Hotel he was booked into on Monday, September 16 and arrived at the Navy Yard in a rented Toyota Prius at around 7:53 a.m., using a valid pass to enter the Yard. [5] [8] [9] [10] As shown on surveillance footage, he drove his car into a parking garage and entered the front door of Building 197 at 8:08 a.m. through the main entrance, carrying a disassembled shotgun (its barrel and stock had been sawed off) in a shoulder bag. He went to the fourth floor, where he had conducted work during the prior week. There, he assembled the shotgun inside a bathroom, then emerged into the hallway and began peeking around corners and checking doors, hunting for someone to ambush. Alexis then crossed another hall into the Building's 4 West area, a cubicle area near the atrium and began his rampage at 8:16 a.m. Six people were hit and five died while the sixth, a woman, survived with wounds to the head and hand. [2] [9] [10] [11] At 8:17 a.m., [10] the first 9-1-1 calls were made. [2] [9] [12]

By 8:20 a.m., Alexis had shot and killed eight people on the fourth floor. (Five in the cubicle area, two in the hallway, and one outside a conference room.) He made his way to the third floor. He used catwalks overlooking the building's atrium to fatally shot two more people within the next two minutes who were eating breakfast in the courtyard cafeteria adjacent to the building’s atrium. He also fired at several people on at least five separate occasions, wounding another woman in the shoulder as she ran up a stairwell. A NAVSEA employee described encountering a gunman wearing all-dark blue clothing in a third-floor hallway and said that "he just turned and started firing." [9] [10] [13] After firing several shots on the third floor, Alexis finally went down to the first floor. [10]

Police response Edit

Officers began arriving at 8:23 a.m. from the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department and several other law enforcement agencies. However, there are many buildings on the base, and officers were unable to discern Building 197's location, so they asked bystanders for its location. They eventually found Building 197 after moving towards the direction from which people were fleeing. There was confusion regarding the shooting also taking place in a nearby building in reality, a wounded victim had been evacuated from Building 197 and moved to an area near the second building for medical attention. [2] [10] [12] The United States Capitol Police became embroiled in a controversy when the police union accused the agency of ordering its personnel to stand down and not respond to the shooting. [14]

While on the first floor, the shooter moved around randomly before turning around and heading towards the front entrance. He killed a security guard before taking his 9mm Beretta M9 pistol, likely after he ran out of shotgun ammunition. Two police officers had asked the guard to remain at his post and try to stop the assailant if he attempted to leave the building. [2] [6] [5] [10] [15] [16] [17] The shooter then fired his shotgun at a second security guard and a Navy military police officer at the first-floor atrium, missing both the security guard fired back and the shooter fled down a hallway. Shortly afterward, the shooter fired at two police officers and a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent in another hallway before fleeing again. [10]

At 8:34 a.m., the shooter went towards the west side of the building, where he encountered two men standing at a corner of the building in an alleyway. He tried to fire at them with his shotgun but realized that he was out of ammunition he switched to the pistol, killing one of the men, and the other man escaped without injury. [10] Reports indicated that a "stray bullet" hit the victim in the alleyway. [2] The shooter's use of the pistol in the alleyway led police to initially believe that a second gunman was involved. [10]

Deaths caused by the shooter Edit

  1. Michael Arnold, 59
  2. Martin Bodrog, 53
  3. Arthur Daniels, 51
  4. Sylvia Frasier, 53
  5. Kathleen Gaarde, 62
  6. John Roger Johnson, 73
  7. Mary Frances Knight, 51
  8. Frank Kohler, 50
  9. Vishnu Pandit, 61
  10. Kenneth Bernard Proctor, 46
  11. Gerald Read, 58
  12. Richard Michael Ridgell, 52

After killing his final victim, Alexis moved to a cubicle area where he discarded the shotgun. At the same time, a team of officers entered Building 197. However, they became confused after gunshots echoed through the atrium, leading them to believe that he was on an upper floor. They headed up to the second floor while Alexis remained on the first floor. At approximately 8:55 a.m., he went to the third floor and concealed himself inside a bank of cubicles. At 9:12 a.m., two officers and two NCIS agents entered the cubicle area [10] and Alexis opened fire on them, hitting officer Scott Williams in both legs. [2] [6] [12] [17] Officer Emmanuel Smith and NCIS agents Brian Kelley and Ed Martin dragged Williams out of the area and alerted other officers to the shooter's presence. Williams was later taken down to the first floor for medical attention, recovering from his wounds. [10]

At 9:15 a.m., D.C. Police Emergency Response Team officer Dorian DeSantis and U.S. Park Police officers Andrew Wong and Carl Hiott entered the cubicle area and searched the individual banks. Eventually, Alexis jumped out from one of the desks and fired at DeSantis from approximately five feet (1.5 m) away, hitting him twice in his tactical vest, and the three officers returned fire. DeSantis was uninjured by the gunshot. [10] At 9:25 a.m., DeSantis shot Alexis in the temple, and his death was confirmed at 11:50 a.m. [2] [9] [12] [17] [20] [21]

Victims Edit

There were 13 fatalities, including Alexis. He and 11 of the victims were killed at the scene, (five in the fourth floor cubicle area, another person on the fourth floor, one who was frantically waiting for an elevator to arrive, one who was waiting outside a third floor office cubicle, two in the atrium's cafeteria and both the security guard and another man on the first floor. [22] while Vishnu Pandit, a program manager in the US Navy, later died at George Washington University Hospital. [5] [23] All the victims were civilian employees or contractors, none of them in the military. [5] Eight others were injured, three of them from gunfire. Police officer Scott Williams and two female civilians were also wounded and were in critical condition at Washington Hospital Center. [20] [24] [25]

Brooklyn Navy Yard Museum Facts

It seemed like forever before the Brooklyn Navy Yard Visitors Center and Museum opened on Veterans Day in 2011. The attraction is highly popular for both Brooklyn residents and visitors due to offering a unique insight into the major role the Yard has played in the past history of the United States and current-life in Brooklyn.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard Visitors Center is housed in the 1857 Marine Commandant’s Residence. Renovated for its new role as well as including a modern extension to the property, the $25 million Center includes an event space, high-tech museum, and helps document the legacy of the shipyard.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard Museum Visitors Center also features a number of showcases of the Yard’s history from 1801 (founded) through 1966 (closing of the yard).

For those interested in the modern industries now located in the Brooklyn Yard, the Visitors Center also includes displays educating visitors about the new green, micro-industries that are housed throughout the Navy Yard buildings. Finally, for the romantics out there, the Navy Yard also features a number of romantic, industrial views of both the East River and Manhattan that are unique to the area.

Navy Yard YFB-8 - History

The Washington Navy Yard is the former shipyard and ordnance plant of the United States Navy in Southeast Washington, D.C. Established in 1799 it is the oldest shore establishment of the U.S. Navy. During the War of 1812 , the Washington Navy Yard was important not only as a support facility, but was a vital strategic link in the defense of the capital city. As the British marched into Washington, holding the Yard became impossible. Tingey, seeing the smoke from the burning Capitol , ordered the Yard burned to prevent its capture by the enemy. Following the War of 1812, the Washington Navy Yard never regained its prominence as a shipbuilding facility. The waters of the Anacostia River were too shallow to accommodate larger vessels, and the Yard was deemed too inaccessible to the open sea. As a consequence the character of the Yard changed toward the manufacture of ordnance and technology.

During the American Civil War , the Yard once again became an integral part of the defense of Washington Following the war, the Yard continued to be the scene of technological advances. In 1886, the Yard was designated the manufacturing center for all ordnance in the Navy. By World War II , the Yard was the largest naval ordnance plant in the world. At its peak, the Yard consisted of 188 buildings on 126 acres (0.5 km²) of land and employed nearly 25,000 people. In December 1945, the Yard was renamed the U.S. Naval Gun Factory. Ordnance work continued for some years after World War II until finally phased out in 1961. Three years later, on July 1, 1964, the activity was renamed the Washington Navy Yard. The deserted factory buildings were converted to office use.

The Yard still employees large numbers of civilian and military employees and currently serves as a ceremonial and administrative center for the U.S. Navy, home to the Chief of Naval Operations , and is headquarters for the Naval Historical Center , the Department of Naval History, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service , the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps , Naval Reactors , Marine Corps Institute , and numerous other naval commands.

WNY Water Front Circa 1866

Documents Available to Historians and Genealogists:

The Washington Navy Yard became the largest employer in the District of Columbia. To ensure order and to track employees for pay and employment purposes the Yard created its own system of records. Many of these documents are now located in the National Archives and Records Administration and Archives of the District of Columbia. At this location you will find a large selection of transcribed naval documents pertaining to civilian and military employees of the Navy Yard, Typically on these documents researchers will find the names, occupation and wages or salary for civilians. Documents listing military employee usually list only rank and name. Many early WNY muster and employee listings are crucial to undemanding African American history as they notate the names of both free and enslaved blacks and list the names of slave owners.

Payroll and Muster Documents:

May 23 1806 the earliest list of WNY civilian employees http://www.genealogytrails.com/washdc/WNY/wny1806emp.html

This same document, has two valuable appendixes listing African Americans both free and enslaved dated 16 April and 12 May 1808 respectively

May 19, 1808 Muster Roll of the Ordinary, Officers, Seamen, Servants, & Boys (including 15 African Americans) http://www.genealogytrails.com/washdc/WNY/wny1808ordmuster.html

Payroll of WNY civilian employees dated July 1811 http://genealogytrails.com/washdc/WNY/1811payroll.html

Apprentice Indentures and Related Documents:

The Yard was for many years the District’s largest employer and as such employed a considerable number of young men and boys who were indentured employees in training to WNY Master Mechanics. Today apprentice indentures and related legal documents are genealogical gold mines. These important employment credentials provide family historians and genealogists considerable detail about the lives of ordinary people. For an explanation of those records:

Letters were utilized even within Washington D.C., to transmit important information they often contain valuable data on the lives of military and civilians employed at the Yard. A selection of them is transcribed at this site as:

Letters from the Secretary of the Navy to Commodore Thomas Tingey and Others 1808 -1814 .

In addition employees often petitioned the Secretary of the Navy or the President. These documents contain praise, grievances and concerns regarding their pay and working conditions. Historians and genealogists will find attached the signatures and X of Yard employees. Some examples: An 1804 letter of congratulations to President-Elect Thomas Jefferson. http://www.genealogytrails.com/washdc/WNY/wnyletter1805.html and the Blacksmith Petition to the Secretary of the Navy circa October 1808 http://www.genealogytrails.com/washdc/bio_wayson_e.html#blacksmith

signed by forty five employees complains of political influence and patronage in determining the names of employees for a reduction in force. http://www.genealogytrails.com/washdc/WNY/1845mayletter.html

This valuable diary of Michael Shiner (1805-1880) provides a unique African American perspective. Shiner worked at the WNY for over fifty years first as a slave, and later as freeman. His outlook and recollections provide an exceptional reflection of public events at the Yard. The Shiner diary lists the names of hundreds of Yard employees both military and civilian and dozens of other residents of the District of Columbia. For more on Michael Shiner, see his complete diary, at the Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/shinerdiary.html

General Orders for the Regulation of the Navy Yard Washington, DC

[circa 1833 -- 1850] These WNY orders provide a glimpse of the rules and regulations that governed the lives military and civilian employees http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/wny1850rules.htm

Bibliography for the History of the Washington Navy Yard:

Brown, Gordon S., The Captain Who Burned His Ships Captain Thomas Tingey, USN, 1750 -1829 Naval Institute Press: Annapolis, 2011. This is a superb biography of the first Commandant and provides valuable information (with source citations) regarding the culture and politics of the early District of Columbia, the navy yard work environment, as well as its labor and racial relations.

Coletta, Paolo E. ed. United States Navy and Marine Corps Bases, Domestic. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985. [See pp. 181-88 for a brief history.]

Leahy, W.D. "Early History of the Washington Navy Yard." United States Naval Institute Proceedings 54 (Oct. 1928): 869-74.

Marolda, Edward. The Washington Navy Yard: An Illustrated History. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1999.

Morgan, William James and Joye E. Leonhart. A History of the Dudley Knox Center for Naval History. Washington, DC: Dudley Knox Center for Naval History, 1981.

Peck, Taylor. Round Shot to Rockets: A History of the Washington Navy Yard and the Naval Gun Factory. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1949. [The most useful single-volume history of the Washington Navy Yard.]

Reilly, John C. Jr. The Bronze Guns of Leutze Park, Washington Navy Yard. Washington, DC: Naval Historical Center, 1980.

_____. The Iron Guns of Willard Park, Washington Navy Yard. Washington, DC: Naval Historical Center, 1991.

Schneller, Robert A., Jr. A Quest for Glory: A Biography of Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1996.

Sharp, John G. History of the Washington Navy Yard Civilian Workforce, 1799-1962. Stockton, CA: Vindolanda Press, 2005. http://www.history.navy.mil/books/sharp/WNY_History.pdf

Washington Navy Yard: History of the Naval Gun Factory, 1883-1939 Naval Historical Center 2007 http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/navgunfound.htm

Washington Navy Yard Photographs:

A large selection of photographs is available at the superb Naval Historical Center web site: http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/pl-usa/pl-dc/wny/wash-nyd.htm

Appreciation and thanks to Wikipedia and the Naval Historical Center, for generously providing some of the information used in the above Introduction.

Navy Yard YFB-8 - History

Civil War Naval History

5 U.S. steamer Star of the West, Captain John McGowan, USRM, departed New York with an Army detachment for the relief of Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.

Secretary of the Navy Toucey ordered Fort Washington-on Maryland side of the Potomac&ndash garrisoned "to protect public property." Forty Marines from Washington Navy Yard under Captain Algernon S. Taylor, USMC, were sent to the Fort-a vital link in the defense of the Nation's Capital by land or water.

Fort Morgan, at the entrance to Mobile Bay, Alabama, was seized and garrisoned by Alabama militia.

9 U.S. steamer Star of the West, Captain McGowan, was fired on by Confederate troops from Morris Island and Fort Moultrie as she attempted to enter Charleston Harbor. Cadets from the Citadel took part in this action. The relief of Fort Sumter was not effected. These were the first Confederate shots fired at a vessel flying the United States flag. Star of the West returned to New York.

Thirty Marines from Washington Navy Yard under First Lieutenant Andrew J. Hays, USMC, garrisoned Fort McHenry, Baltimore, until U.S. Army troops could relieve them.

10 Forts Jackson and St. Philip, Mississippi River, Louisiana, were seized by Louisiana State troops. 11 U.S. Marine Hospital two miles below New Orleans was occupied by Louisiana State troops.

12 Fort Barrancas and the Pensacola Navy Yard, Captain James Armstrong, USN, were seized by Florida and Alabama militia. Union troops escaped across the Bay to Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island, a position which remained in Union hands throughout the war.

14 South Carolina legislature declared any attempt to reinforce Fort Sumter would be an act of war.

16 Captain Taylor, USMC, commanding Fort Washington, wrote Colonel John Harris, Marine Corps Commandant, regarding the "defenseless and pregnable condition" of the Fort. Taylor requested reinforcements, commenting that he did "not wish to be placed in a position to detract from the high character of my corps."

18 Confederates seized U.S. lighthouse tender Alert at Mobile, Alabama.

20 Fort on Ship Island, Mississippi, seized by Confederates Ship Island was a key base for operations in the Gulf of Mexico and at the mouth of the Mississippi River.

22 Guns and ammunition sold to and destined for Georgia were seized by New York authorities. This action was protested by Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown in a letter to New York Governor Edwin Morgan. In retaliation Governor Brown seized northern ships at Savannah on 8 and 21 February 1861. Marine Guard at Brooklyn Navy Yard put under arms as a precaution against difficulty with Confederate sympathizers.

23 Commander John A. Dahlgren noted that as a precaution against an attack on the Washington Navy Yard, he had the cannon and the ammunition from the Yard magazine removed to the attic of the main building.

25 Captain Samuel F. Du Pont wrote Commander Andrew Hull Foote about the number of naval officers resigning their commissions to go to their home States in the South: "What made me most sick at heart, is the resignations from the Navy . . . I [have been] nurtured, fed and clothed by the general government for over forty years, paid whether employed or not, and for what- why to stand by the country, whether assailed by enemies from without or foes within- my oath declared 'allegiance to the United States' as well as to support the Constitution . . I stick by the flag and the national government as long as we have one, whether my state does or not and she knows it.

The 430 acre site in Lower New York Harbor was created by private developers in the 1930s as a man-made peninsula off the eastern end of Bayonne, New Jersey. Initially developed for industrial use, the U.S. War Department and the Department of the Navy became interested in the site as World War II approached. There was a desperate need for an additional facility to support the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the overall war effort.

While construction of a naval supply depot in Bayonne began in March of 1941, the attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States' entrance into World War II dramatically increased the construction schedule. The United States Naval Supply Depot, Bayonne, was commissioned in 1942. A dry dock was built to accommodate Essex class aircraft carriers and the newly designed Iowa class battle ships. The Bayonne Navy Base, as it was known, became a major repair yard for wartime vessels and, during the war, usually berthed ten or more ships simultaneously. In addition, the Bayonne Navy Base was also one of the major logistical centers for Allied operations in the European Theater, with total throughput of goods in the hundreds of millions of tons.

In 1946, the U.S. Navy Diving and Salvage Training Center was relocated to Bayonne from New York, and events here would become the basis for the 2000 motion picture, Men of Honor.

Also in 1946, the Naval Supply Corps School was relocated to Bayonne, where it is estimated that one third of all Naval Supply Officers passed their training.

During the 1950s, the Bayonne Navy Base was the Department's busiest port of its kind. The base played a key role in supporting much of the rebuilding effort in Europe, as well as being instrumental in carrying out the Marshall Plan and other significant military and civilian operations during the early days of the Cold War.

In 1965, the Department of Defense decided to consolidate the Bayonne Navy Base and the Brooklyn Army Terminal. Renamed the Military Ocean Terminal – Bayonne (MOTBY), the facility became a Department of Defense East Coast Logistical Support Center. When it was re-commissioned in 1967 as a U.S. Army installation, the combined facility employed over 2,500 civilians.

During the 1970s and 1980s, MOTBY's primary mission was overseas support for all personnel stationed in the Western Hemisphere. Additionally, in 1976, the Military Sealift Command-Atlantic (MSCLANT) was relocated here.

In 1991, during the Gulf War, MOTBY was the leading military facility in support of both Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. In the biggest test of the military's logistical support system since World War II, MOTBY moved more goods than any other installation and won honors for its effort.

In the mid 1990s, in an effort to streamline operations and reduce costs, Congress created the Base Realignment at Closing Commission (BRAC). In 1995, BRAC selected MOTBY as one of the sites for closure. On September 23, 1999, MOTBY was officially closed - eliminating over 2,500 civilian jobs. During this time negotiations were underway to turn the property over to the City of Bayonne. On July 1, 1998, the Bayonne Local Redevelopment Authority (BLRA) was established to facilitate the transfer and redevelopment of MOTBY property. On April 25, 2002, the facility was renamed The Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor.

Since then, The Peninsula 's 430 acres of outdoor space and warehouses, many converted to sound stages, have served as perfect locations for the motion picture industry, with major projects filmed here including Ron Howard's A Beautiful Mind and Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds.

In December, 2003, the BLRA and Royal Caribbean International announced an agreement to establish a cruise port. Christened the Cape Liberty Cruise Port, the refurbished terminal would serve as the new seasonal homeport for Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas. Design and construction of the cruise port, including a passenger terminal, ship berths, Customs and INS facilities, visitor parking and bus and taxi areas, began in January 2004, and was completed, incredibly, in just eight weeks. The maiden sailing of the Voyager of the Seas was on May 14, 2004. The voyage marked the first time a passenger ship vessel had sailed from New Jersey in almost 40 years.

In 2004, Royal Caribbean's Empress of the Seas also sailed regularly from Bayonne. In its inaugural season, over 237,000 passengers safely traveled through Cape Liberty Cruise Port. During 2005, ships included Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, and Celebrity Cruises' Constellation and Zenith. Passenger volume for 2005 was over 300,000 - the second largest among Northeast and Mid-Atlantic coast ports.

And while The Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor had already become a world-class destination for filmmakers and vacationers alike, the future looked even more promising.

In 2011, the BLRA sold its property at the Peninsula to the Port Authority of NY/NJ. With the change in property manager, Royal Caribbean remained consistent in delivering terminal operations to the vessel’s which called. Future vessels included Explorer of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Summit.

In 2013 Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, committed to building a purpose built terminal for it’s fleet. The terminal was designed to be capable of servicing any one of RCCL’s multiple brands. Adding features such as digital signage, LED lighting, sleek and innovative design, Cape Liberty Cruise Port became what she is today a top rated home port and port of call for passenger vessels of all kinds. Opening in 2014, Quantum of the Seas made her inaugural call to the new terminal. It was the largest ship to ever call Cape Liberty Cruise Port home. The next year in 2015, Anthem of the Seas was the new homeport occupant and she sure did get an American inauguration. Who knows what ship’s are on the horizon for Cape Liberty Cruise Port. It will always be an adventure sailing from Lady Liberty’s front door.

Brooklyn Navy Yard oral history collection1986-1989, 2006-2010 (ARC.003)

This collection includes oral histories conducted by the Brooklyn Historical Society from 1986 to 1989 as well as oral histories conducted in partnership with the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation and Brooklyn Historical Society from 2006 to 2010. The interviews were conducted with men and women who worked in or around the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the majority of the interviews are with people who worked in the Yard during World War II. During the interviews, the narrators discuss their lives before working at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, their work at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, their relationships with others in the Yard, and transportation to and from work. While most of the interviews focus on work experiences in and around the Yard, some of the narrators describe gender, racial, and ethnic relations at the Yard and at various neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Many narrators also describe their lives after the Navy Yard.

This collection was processed and described with funding from the New York State Documentary Heritage Program.

Finding FDR in the Brooklyn Navy Yard: An example of “One NARA” at work.

During a long day of scanning glass plate negatives in the Digital Image lab a fleeting image with an intriguing caption caught my eye during a quality control inspection session. As hundreds of images depicting various scenes of the Brooklyn Navy Yard whizzed by on a computer monitor I noticed a scan with the caption: Laying the Keel of U.S.S Battleship No. 39 Arrival of Asst. Scty [sic] F.D. Roosevelt, & Others. (RG 181, Photographs of the Construction and Repair of Buildings, Facilities, and Vessels at the New York Navy Yard, compiled 1903 – 1920 National Archives Identifier 6038115) I asked my colleague P.T. Corrigan to slow down the inspection process and back up to try and find the image that had just passed by.

The image depicted a man standing on a scaffold looking down at group of dignitaries in the distance walking toward the camera. Striding confidently in the front of the group was a smiling figure wearing a stylish derby hat with his head cocked staring straight at the camera. Behind him was a gaggle of VIPs in great coats, hand warmers, and top hats. We weren’t sure if the person in the image was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but P.T. as a military history buff was quick to point out that everyone knew (except me apparently-I am a photographer with a degree in Medieval History) that “Battleship No. 39” was the Battleship Arizona sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II.

When I enlarged the high resolution scan to 100% I could make out a figure resembling FDR, but the figure in the photograph was not confined to a wheel chair instead he was walking and smiling. I knew that Roosevelt was stricken by polio later in life, but I was unsure when it had happened.

I raced to my computer and searched for “FDR” and the “Brooklyn Navy Yard” and found out that FDR had indeed served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy. He had visited the Navy Yard during the keel laying ceremony which is depicted in the image that we scanned. i I went back and took a closer look at a detailed view of the scanned negative and confirmed that the figure walking across the Navy Yard dry-dock was FDR. I was humbled to think that I was looking at an image of FDR waking upright before he had contracted polio.

Thanks to the emphasis placed on digitization and new social media tools that NARA is deploying, it is likely an experienced historian or an astute citizen archivist would eventually have discovered the image when it becomes available online. However, discoveries like this happen all the time at NARA when one is engaged with the archival records and is attentive during the digitization lifecycle. On the other hand, happy discoveries are what make working with historical records interesting. The story of the scanning project is almost as interesting as the discovery of the image of FDR, and is an example of how “One NARA” creates value to the work we do and the treasures in our collections.

The saga started several years ago when crates of 4,000 4࡫” to 11x 14” glass plate negatives were transferred from the New York Archives to the photographic lab for preservation duplicating. Before the copy work could start, photo lab staff and student workers overseen by conservation staff began the process of re-housing and re-boxing the collection. Once the re-housing process was complete, photo lab staff began duplicating the negatives onto analogue photographic film. At the same time the film duplication was starting up, the imaging labs were installing high resolution digital cameras intended to replace the analogue film process with a new digital workflow.

The traditional photographic negative duplication technique involved a two step process to create a positive image film intermediate known as an inter-positive, and then to make a copy negative from the inter-positive. This was the accepted analogue archival reformatting approach to copy negative collections because the photographic process required a negative image to be created of a negative original. At the same time the film duplication of the glass negatives were being made, I was tasked with implementing a new digital imaging system capable of creating a 133mega-pixel 800 megabyte digital file. Since we needed to put new equipment into production, it was decided to transition the duplication of the Navy Yard glass plate negatives into a digitization project.

The Digital Lab scanned over 4,000 glass plate negatives and created three types of digital files for preservation and access. ii First the lab created a high resolution digital preservation master file, then a high resolution reproduction master suitable for exhibition purposes is derived from the preservation master, and finally a lower resolution access version is created that is suitable for online access. One of the major advantages of the digitization process is that by scanning directly from the camera original, more detail is captured than the two generation analogue process. A greater tonal range and a more accurate reproduction of the historic original are possible with digital technology.

From my vantage point at the “hub” of the digitization process, I interacted with a wide spectrum of NARA staff that played essential roles in the much larger archival process. The project was first launched as a photographic conservation re-housing project led by Pam Kirschner. The vital labor for that phase was conducted by Imaging Lab staff and student workers. The the imaging lab staff worked to scan, process, inspect, and create the digital preservation and access files. To facilitate the digitization process, I created a production tracking database that served as an item level finding aid to the negative collection. When the digitization process was completed, this database served as the basis for further descriptive work.

Next, the scans and production database were transferred to archivists Dawn Powers and Jennifer Pollock. Dawn and Jennifer worked with the New York office to have the series description entered into the Archival Research Catalog (ARC) and to transfer the files onto hard drives from the digital lab. They also worked out a project plan with Suzanne Isaacs from ARC Staff to have these images and descriptions put into ARC. When they realized that most of the images had captions on them, they decided to explore with the Volunteer Office if there were any volunteers who might be available to enter the descriptive information from the images onto spreadsheets.

After meeting with the volunteer program coordinator Judy Luis-Watson, Dawn and Jennifer completed a Volunteer Project Worksheet that outlined the tasks to be completed. Judy was able to assemble a team of seven volunteers who viewed the digital copies of the images and annotated each image in the data base with the title, production date, agency assigned ID, file name, and other scope and content information identified during the annotation process. Harry Kidd, the project’s lead volunteer, and a photographer’s mate while in the US Navy, reviewed the work and conducted research to answer the team’s questions and provide additional information on the sometimes cryptic captions that accompanied the original images. As the volunteers completed each segment of the project, it was reviewed by Harry. Each section was then also reviewed by Jennifer, and then edited by Suzanne before going through ARC review to be placed online by Gary Stern.

At this point, approximately half of the images are on ARC and hopefully the rest will be soon. Finally, when the images are online in OPA they will be made available to citizen archivists to tag and transcribe on social media outlets such as Flickr and HistoryPin. By placing these images on Social Media outlets, an even greater range of interested citizen archivists will be able to engage with NARA’s records than ever before. It would not be possible without the efforts of the various staff that constitute “One NARA”.

Jennifer Pollock, Judy Luis-Watson, Harry Kidd, and Suzanne Isaacs contributed to this post.

Watch the video: American Artifacts Preview: Washington Navy Yard History (August 2022).