The Charlestown Navy Yard, also widely known as the Boston Navy Yard, was founded in 1801 to build and service the U.S. Naval Fleet. The Charlestown Navy Yard was located on the banks of the Mystic River in Charlestown, a few miles northeast of Boston, Massachusetts. The Charlestown Navy Yard was one of the oldest shipbuilding sites in the United States and operated continuously until July 1974. During its remarkable 174 year history, the Charlestown Navy Yard built over 200 warships for the U.S. Navy and serviced countless naval vessels.

History of the Charlestown Navy Yard

The Charlestown Navy Yard site began shipbuilding operations prior to the birth of the United States. In 1801, following the Revolutionary War, the Charlestown Navy Yard was purchased by the federal government to build ships for the U.S. Navy. The first ship built at the Charlestown Navy Yard was a state of the art warship named the USS INDEPENDENCE. During the 1800s, the Charlestown Navy Yard built a number of noteworthy vessels but primarily remained a Navy repair and storage facility. The Charlestown Navy Yard was famously the site of the first naval dry-dock in New England, inaugurated in June 1833.

During the Civil War period, the Charlestown Navy Yard contributed enormously to the Union troops. The Charlestown Navy Yard was responsible for the support and repair of Union naval vessels, as well as converting small ships into war ships to be sent to the front. After the Civil War, the Charlestown Navy Yard continued its repair and storage activities. However, it was not until the 1890s when the shipyard was commissioned by the U.S. Navy to build modern steel ships that the shipyard officially became known as the Charlestown Navy Yard,  

When the U.S. entered WWI, the Charlestown Navy Yard played an integral role as the repair facility for U.S. Navy ships in the Atlantic Ocean. The advent of WWII renewed shipbuilding activities at the Charlestown Navy Yard. The shipyard was responsible for building nearly 24 naval destroyers that participated in a number of ocean battles during the war. At this peak of shipbuilding operations, the Charlestown Navy Yard employed almost 50,000 people.

After the war era, the Charlestown Navy Yard worked on Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM), a federal program aimed at modernizing older Navy ships. In 1974, the 30 acre shipyard was transferred to the National Park Service to be a part of the Boston National Historic Park. The old Charlestown Navy Yard site houses the USS CONSTITUTION ship, and a museum ship called the USS Cassin Young. The Charlestown Navy Yard site is open year round for the public to view and learn about U.S. naval history.

Asbestos & the Charlestown Navy Yard

During its years of operation, the Charlestown Navy Yard used asbestos in many of its shipyard activities. The Charlestown Navy Yard closed in 1974, just as the asbestos health warnings were beginning to surface. Unfortunately, the health dangers of asbestos were unknown until the 1980s and unprotected Charlestown Navy Yard workers were exposed to high levels of asbestos for prolonged periods of time.

Asbestos is a fibrous mineral and was used in ship construction and repair at Charlestown Navy Yard for its ability to retard fire, withstand high temperatures, and resist corrosion. Charlestown Navy Yard workers regularly used asbestos materials that released a dangerous fibrous dust into the air. When asbestos dust is inhaled, it lodges in the lungs or the protective lining surrounding many of the body’s organs and can cause serious health problems including:

  • Mesothelioma (a cancer of the protective lining that covers most of the body’s internal organs, including the lungs)
  • Lung cancer
  • Asbestosis (lung tissue scarring)
  • Cancer in a number of other organs

Asbestos Injuries at the Charlestown Navy Yard – Massachusetts

If you or a loved were exposed to asbestos at Charlestown Navy Yard, contact us today to determine if you have a case and are entitled to compensation.

Published November 17, 2011 by