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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Boston in Suffolk County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)
 

Dry Dock 1

Boston Nat’l Hist Pk

 

—Charlestown Navy Yard —

 
Dry Dock 1 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 15, 2009
1. Dry Dock 1 Marker
Inscription. This stone and metal structure is Dry Dock 1, completed in 1833. As one of America’s first two granite dry docks, Dry Dock 1 made the repair of large naval ships faster, easier, and safer.

Returning warships to sea duty in less time was a crucial gain for a young nation with a limited budget and a small navy. Costing more than $1.5 million, the dry docks here in Charlestown and Norfolk, Virginia, were the largest civil works projects the federal government had ever undertaken. They proved that the nation was prepared to use its navy to protect its overseas trade.

The first vessel to enter Dry Dock 1 for repairs was USS Constitution in 1833. Today, Dry Dock 1, a working pioneer, is preserved as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.
 
Erected by Boston National Hist Park, National Park Service, Department of the Interior.
 
Location. 42° 22.417′ N, 71° 3.358′ W. Marker is in Boston, Massachusetts, in Suffolk County. Marker can be reached from 3rd Street, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is located in the Charlestown Navy Yard, near the entrance to the Constitution Museum. Marker is in this post office area: Charlestown MA 02129, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other
Marker in Charleston Navy Yard image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 15, 2009
2. Marker in Charleston Navy Yard
Note the World War II destroyer USS Cassin Young in the background.
markers are within walking distance of this marker. Serving the Fleet (a few steps from this marker); The Changing Yard (a few steps from this marker); "Old Ironsides" in Dry Dock 1 (a few steps from this marker); Charlestown Navy Yard (a few steps from this marker); Boston, the Navy Yard, and the War of 1812 (within shouting distance of this marker); Life and Work in the Navy Yard 1812 (within shouting distance of this marker); Boston Naval Shipyard (within shouting distance of this marker); Men of the Boston Naval Shipyard (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Boston.
 
More about this marker. The top right of the marker contains a picture of a ship on its side. It has a caption of “Careening. Without a dry dock, a ship must be careened at dockside. Careening, or ‘heaving down,’ a ship exposes only half of the hull at a time, requires major dismantling, and places great stress on a wooden hull. Occasionally, a ship would sink while being careened.”
The bottom of the marker features a number of pictures and illustrations. The first is of Laommi Baldwin (1780-1838), by Chester Harding. Chief Engineer Baldwin adapted concepts he had observed in Europe to design a dry dock complex that functioned as one large mechanism. Next to this is a copy of the Dry Dock Plan, signed “Nov.
Dry Dock 1 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, August 1, 2009
3. Dry Dock 1 Marker
View of dry dock with gate closed and sea water pumped out.
4, 1828, L. Baldwin”
. Baldwin’s innovative plan used the yard’s first steam engine, 16 large pumps to empty the dock’s basin, and a floating gate that sealed the dock from the sea. Next is a photograph of 1851: USS Constellation in Dry Dock. In the dry basin, keel blocks and supports held the vessel upright with its entire hull exposed. Workers could then quickly replace planking and re-caulk and re-copper the ship’s bottom. Finally, there is a photograph of 1961:USS Fred T. Berry in Dry Dock 1. The techniques of dry-docking, as well as Dry Dock 1 itself, are still in use today.
 
Categories. LandmarksMan-Made FeaturesWaterways & Vessels
 
Dry Dock #1: How it Works image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 15, 2009
4. Dry Dock #1: How it Works
1. The large gate at the harbor end of the dry dock is a caisson, partially filled with water. The dry dock is filled with sea water by opening pipes through the caisson which allow water to flow from the harbor into the dry dock.

2. Water is pumped out of the caisson, allowing it to float and be towed away.

3. A ship is brought in and lined up above keel blocks.

4. The caisson is replaced and flooded to seal the end of the dry dock. The water in the dry dock is pumped out, and the ship is left cradled and dry.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 2,062 times since then and 5 times this year. Last updated on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   3. submitted on , by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.   4. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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