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Alexandria, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Torpedo Factory Art Center / United States Naval Torpedo Station (Building Two)

 
 
Torpedo Factory Art Center Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 14, 2016
1. Torpedo Factory Art Center Marker
Inscription. Marker on the left side of the North Union Street entrance:
Torpedo Factory Art Center
City of Alexandria, Virginia
Dedicated April 30, 1983

Alexandria City Council, Charles E. Beatley, Jr,. Mayor; James P. Moran, Jr., Vice Mayor; Donald C. Casey, Lionel R. Hope, Margaret B. Inman, Carlyle C. Ring, Jr., Patricia S. Ticer, City Manager Douglas Haman, General Contractor Eugene Simpson & Brother, Incorporated; Architect Keyes, Condon and Florance Metcalf Associates; Engineering FDE Ltd.Structural Engineering Girard Engineering Ltd.

The Torpedo Factory Art Center Building was formerly a munitions plant during World Wars I and II. In September, 1974, the Art Center opened in the Torpedo Factory as a Bicentennial project. The idea was conceived by Marian Van Landingham, a local artist, who became the Centerís first director. The Alexandria City Council approved the rehabilitation of this building for the continuing use by artists and the community.

Marker on the right side of the North Union Street entrance:

United States Naval Torpedo Station (Building Two)

The Naval Torpedo Station construction began on November 12, 1918, the day after the armistice which ended World War I. building One housed machine shops, the dispensary, and a cafeteria,
United States Naval Torpedo Station (Building Two) Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., October 30, 2016
2. United States Naval Torpedo Station (Building Two) Marker
while Building Two held torpedo storage and offices. The project cost $2,750,000. the Torpedo Station was occupied in June, 1919. The first Alexandria torpedoes came off assembly on November 20, 1919. Operations were phased out by 1923. The 900 torpedoes stored in Building Two were shipped to England in the Lend-Lease plan of 1939.

World War II brought additional buildings along the waterfront and thousands of workers. The torpedo plant produced the MK14, 3A Torpedo, the primary typ used by destroyers and submarines in the war. The MK14, with a 21 foot length, 21 inch diameter and a quarter ton of explosives, was longer, faster, and heavier, and it ranged further than previous models. From January 1, 1939, to June 1, 1946, nearly 10,000 were manufactured here. After World War II, Building Two became the repository for Federal records and for the Nazi war records used in the Nuremburg trials.

In 1969, the City of Alexandria purchased the Torpedo Station from the Federal Government for $1.5 million.

For 250 years the land on which the Torpedo Factory stands has been central to Alexandria's commercial activities. The 18th Century wharves and warehouses of John Carlyle and William Ramsey were later replaced in the 19th Century by Henry K. Field's Planing Mill and Smoot's Lumber Yard. In 1919, at the time of the redevelopment of the land for the use
Torpedo Factory Art Center Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 14, 2016
3. Torpedo Factory Art Center Marker
of the Torpedo Factory, an article in the Alexandria Gazette presented this view:
"Alexandria has quietly awaited her day, while
the sun of prosperity has been rising upon
other places in the Old Dominion ... Now that
things are coming here way, we all realize that
we have much to be thankful for."† † † † † † † † †

 
Erected 1983.
 
Location. 38° 48.298′ N, 77° 2.411′ W. Marker is in Alexandria, Virginia. Marker is on North Union Street. Click for map. The markers are located on each side of the North Union Street entrance doors. Marker is at or near this postal address: 105 North Union Street, Alexandria VA 22314, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Engin Artemel (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); John Fitzgerald (about 300 feet away); Waterfront Walk (about 400 feet away); Historic Alexandria (about 500 feet away); Raise the White Flag (about 500 feet away); The Carlyle House and the 18th-Century Site (about 600 feet away); Bank of Alexandria (about 600 feet away); The Ramsay House (about 600 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Alexandria.
 
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicWar, World IWar, World II
 
Torpedo Factory Art Center image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 14, 2016
4. Torpedo Factory Art Center
The North Union Street entrance.
Mark XIV Submarine Torpedo image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., October 30, 2016
5. Mark XIV Submarine Torpedo
Located inside, 1st floor, main hallway. A nearby placard provides some history behind it:
This Mark XIV (model 3A) submarine torpedo, serial number 64220, is one of the 9920 torpedoes manufactured at the Alexandria Naval Torpedo Station between 1939 and 1946. This torpedo, 21 feet long and 21 inches in diameter, once housed a quarter ton of explosives and had a range of 4500 yards at 46 knots. Developed between 1931 and 1933, the Mark XIV was faster and had a greater range than earlier models. The torpedo's bright green color enable easy sighting and recovery during test runs.

The City of Alexandria gratefully acknowledges the support of the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association in facilitating the restoration of the torpedo and its return to the Torpedo Factory Art Center in 1983.
Another torpedo just inside the waterfront entrance doors image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., October 30, 2016
6. Another torpedo just inside the waterfront entrance doors
While there is no placard identifying this type of torpedo, it is a US Navy Mark 13 Model 6 Torpedo. Deployed from aircraft and, after 1943, PT Boats, the Mark 13 torpedo was 13' 5" long with a diameter of 22' 4". The Mark 13 was also manufactured here at the U.S. Naval Torpedo Station during World War II.
Aerial view of the United States Naval Torpedo Station image. Click for more information.
By US Navy photograph, circa 1928
7. Aerial view of the United States Naval Torpedo Station
Building Two is in the foreground. Building One is behind it. Photograph is from the George L. Dant collection, US Navy History and Heritage Command.
Click for more information.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 108 times since then. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234.   2. submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.   3, 4. submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234.   5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on October 31, 2016.
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