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Charlestown Navy Yard: 1906

Charlestown Navy Yard: 1906

Boston, 1906. "Bird's eye view of Charlestown Navy Yard." After 175 years of military service, Boston Navy Yard (originally called Charlestown Navy Yard) was decommissioned in 1974. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Is that not the stern of the vessel to the left of the photo?

They usually slide backwards coming out of drydock.

I can't tell for certain but this looks like a series of drydock berths to me, with Connie in the foreground and two others to her port side.

Two vessels in the right background

The black-hulled vessel nearest the camera has a raked black stack with a white band. This is a freighter, as evidenced by the cluster of cargo booms on her afterdeck.

Behind this black-hulled freighter is a very interesting naval vessel which has two military masts with fighting tops. She has a large gun turret on her foredeck. Her funnel has an oval cross section. This is either a pre-dreadnought battleship (BB) or more likely a Monitor (BM). I'm unable to identify her; perhaps some Shorpy Sleuth can provide an ID.

USS St. Louis (C-20) in background

The funnel and mast configuration of the partially obscured ship just to the right of middle is most likely the St. Louis. The other two ships in the same class were in the Pacific in 1906, based on Wikipedia.

Different view

I have an album of the navy yard and nearby Chelsea naval hospital, pictures seem to be from 1875-1900. This one view seems to show the same smokestack in the center left. though I'm not entirely sure. The are many others so if you're interested let me know.

Drydock Pumphouse

The round building in the center right of the image is still there, showing its age a wee bit.

Old Ironsides

She wasn't launched until 1794, so she didn't fight in the Revolution. Her reputation dates from the War of 1812.

Constitution Turn Around

Every Fourth of July the Constitution is turned around in the harbor. In 1986 I was invited to be on the ship for this. My brother in law was lead restoration and maintenance carpenter for this ship for thirty years. What a gig. He got me on the ship, it was amazing, it was pulled and guided by tugs but on the ship you didn't notice that. It was just gliding through the water. As it's turning by Moon Island they fire the cannons in salute. That ship rocked as the cannons were fired, looking up the giant masts were swaying from the force. A wow moment for sure. Interesting too, in working on the ship, my brother in law said in restoring it there were no laminated wood parts. When he needed certain wood he'd fly to Central America, into the forests there, put an "X" on a tree and say "Ship it to Charlestown".


I see you, "Old Ironsides."

The venerable USS Constitution, partially hidden but never invisible, just indivisible in the right side of the photo.

USS Constitution (aka Old Ironsides)

You can see the bow of the USS Constitution in the foreground area of the picture. This ship is the oldest commissioned naval vessel in the world. Also know as Old Iron sides as the attacking cannon balls seemed to bounce off the mostly oak sides during the Revolutionary War. It still resides in Boston and is a major tourist spot. Just this week it was announced for the first time ever a female commanding officer will take the reins in mid January 2022

Almost hidden treasure

Near the foreground, that sailing ship's bow belongs to the U.S.S. Constitution, a.k.a. Old Ironsides. The venerable frigate was undergoing restoration. Another 1906 view, (available for download courtesy of the Naval History and Heritage Command at ) shows more of the Constitution from its stern.

Old Ironsides

You can just see parts of the obscured USS Constitution in the foreground.

USS Constitution

Is that the USS Constitution partially hidden behind those buildings lower center right? I have a souvenir piece of wood from the Constitution I received as a gift. Also, I have a used artillery shell casing. I understand they have to do maneuvers and fire weapons to keep it commissioned.

Series of platforms

Okay, I’ll bite. What is that series of tables or platforms with horizontally-striped legs in the lower left quadrant? I was thinking maybe supports for the keel of a boat in drydock, but what to make of that one-story brick structure to their right? It would be directly in the way to the water.

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