Richmond, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Here Stood the Trigg Shipyard
The concrete walls in front of you are all that is left of the once-bustling Trigg Shipyard. The yard employed 2,000 men and was comprised of 16 large industrial buildings on a 25-acre site with 20 acres in water, dock, and boat basin. In 1898, Richmond business man William R. Trigg, already a successful and well-known fabricator of locomotives, announced several contracts for steam torpedo boats and destroyers for the U.S. Navy.
Torpedo boats were those used to attack larger ships, first introduced in the Civil War. Destroyers, short for "Torpedo Boat Destroyers", were introduced shortly thereafter to attack the torpedo boats. On October 31, 1899, President William McKinley, his cabinet, and 30,000 observers attended the launch of the first boat, the USS Shubrick. The yard built torpedo boats, destroyers, steamers, cruisers, tugboats, dredges, and cutters until 1903 when William Trigg declared bankruptcy.
The last ship to be built, the USS Galveston, was unfinished and eventually transported to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for completion.
Ships were laid down in a dry dock or “caisson”.
The place in which you are now standing was once under water in a "laying up basin," an area for ships to move in and out of the caisson. The wall remnants before you (photo left) formed the ship lock shown on the map below. In the woods west of where you are standing is a long, vertical depression which may be the only remaining evidence of the huge caisson.
Erected by NOAA Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #25 William McKinley series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1898.
Location. 37° 31.572′ N, 77° 25.363′ W. Marker is in Richmond, Virginia. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Dock Street and Pear Street, on the right when traveling east. Located in the Great Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2803 Dock Street, Richmond VA 23223, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Water Quality in the James (within shouting distance of this marker); Norfolk and Southern Bridge (within shouting distance of this marker); The Tidal James (within shouting distance of this marker); Welcome to Chapel Island (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); 28th St Draw Bridge / Great Shiplock Canal (about 400 feet away); Great Ship Lock (about 500 feet away); Confederate Navy Yard (about 500 feet away); Tobacco Row (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Richmond.
More about this marker.
Above: The retaining walls as they exist today, from east side facing southwest. (Courtesy of RRPDC)
Below: Trigg Shipyard, circa 1900 (Courtesy of the Library of Virginia)
Above: USS Decatur and USS Dale fitting out circa 1902. (Courtesy of the Library of Virginia)
Right: USS Dale in 1900. (Courtesy of Navsource.org)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 1, 2020. It was originally submitted on February 20, 2016, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 408 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on February 20, 2016, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.