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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Portsmouth in Rockingham County, New Hampshire — The American Northeast (New England)
 

Portsmouth Navy Yard

 
 
Portsmouth Navy Yard Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 28, 2017
1. Portsmouth Navy Yard Marker
Inscription.
The Portsmouth Navy Yard was established in 1800 when the federal government perceived a need to expand the Navy in order to counter French privateer attacks against merchant shipping. It has served varied functions over the years, first constructing wooden warships, then ironclads and, finally, submarines. Threatened with closure many times, beginning in the 1870s and as recently as 2005, the Navy Yard remains a vital component of the local economy.

Russo-Japanese War
In 1905, Theodore Roosevelt proposed to warring Japan and Russia that the Navy Yard serve as the site of a peace conference. The talks were held in Building 86, which is now the Yard's administrative headquarters. The Peace Treaty ended hostilities and gained Roosevelt the Nobel Peace Prize.

U.S.S. Kearsarge
The three-masted steam sloop U.S.S. Kearsarge is, without question, the most famous of all Portsmouth-built warships. On June 19, 1864 she engaged the Confederate raider CSS Alabama, which in the previous twenty-two months had captured and burned at least fifty-five Union merchant ships. In an epic one-hour and twenty-minute sea battle just three miles off the coast of Cherbourg, France, Kearsarge sank the Alabama, sustaining no loss of life and minimal damage to the ship.

Navy
Marker detail: Japanese and Russian Delegates at Conference Table image. Click for full size.
Courtesy of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Public Affairs Office.
2. Marker detail: Japanese and Russian Delegates at Conference Table
Yard Prison

The castle-like prison at the Navy Yard, with its distinctive crenellations, was constructed between 1903 and 1908 with later additions in 1912 and 1943. Its inmate population reached a peak in World War II, when over 3,000 sailors and marines were imprisoned there. It has been closed since 1974, deemed wholly inadequate by modern standards of incarceration.

A Cluster of Islands
Over the years fill was added to connect the original cluster of islands in Portsmouth Harbor into the single 278-acre land mass on which the Navy Yard now stands. The original islands are shaded in the drawing above.

Launching of the L-8
The L-8, shown at its launching in 1917, was the first submarine built at the Portsmouth Navy Yard. The shipyard went on to construct 79 submarines in World War II, with a record four being launched in a single day in 1944. Its first nuclear submarine was launched in 1957 and its last in 1969. The shipyard is now dedicated to the maintenance of nuclear attack submarines.

The Commandantís House
This house has been the home of Navy Yard commanders since its major renovation in 1815. Its first resident was Isaac Hull, captain of the U.S.S. Constitution ("Old Ironsides"). During an epic 1812 battle his ship defeated H.M.S. Guerriere. Admiral David Farragut, naval
Marker detail: Photograph, Aerial of Prison image. Click for full size.
Courtesy of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Public Affairs Office.
3. Marker detail: Photograph, Aerial of Prison
hero of the Civil War, passed his last days here, dying in the home in 1870.
 
Erected 2011 by City of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
 
Location. 43° 4.635′ N, 70° 45.066′ W. Marker is in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in Rockingham County. Marker can be reached from Marcy Street north of Puddle Lane, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is located at the east edge of Prescott Park, overlooking the Piscataqua River and the subject Navy Yard across the water. Marker is at or near this postal address: 105 Marcy Street, Portsmouth NH 03801, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Black Yankees and The Sea (within shouting distance of this marker); Portsmouth NH Marine Railway (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); North Pier (about 400 feet away); Portsmouth Pier & Wharves (about 400 feet away); Oracle House (about 500 feet away); Liberty Pole and Bridge (about 500 feet away); Portsmouth NH Red Light District (about 600 feet away); Memorial Bridge 1923-2012 (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Portsmouth.
 
Also see . . .
1. The Russo-Japanese War.
The embarrassments of Port Arthur and Tsushima, along with the growing domestic unrest of 1905, forced the tsarís government to seek peace terms from the Japanese.
Marker detail: The Commandantís House image. Click for full size.
Photograph. Courtesy of the Public Affairs Office, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
4. Marker detail: The Commandantís House
The Russian peace negotiators were led by the former finance minister Sergei Witte, who managed to secure reasonable terms, given Russiaís weak position. The Treaty of Portsmouth, signed in September 1905, saw Russia cede control of Port Arthur to the Japanese and acknowledge Japanís authority over Korea. (Submitted on April 6, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. USS Kearsarge (1861).
The USS Kearsarge was built at Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine, under the 1861 American Civil War emergency shipbuilding program. The new 1,550 ton steam sloop-of-war was launched on 11 September 1861; she was sponsored by Mrs. McFarland, the wife of the editor of the Concord Statement, and was commissioned on 24 January 1862, with Captain Charles W. Pickering in command. Soon after, she was hunting for Confederate raiders in European waters. (Submitted on April 6, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. Portsmouth Naval Prison.
After containing about 86,000 military inmates over its 66 year operation, the brig closed in 1974. The building was considered for outleasing and renovation. Local developer Joseph Sawtelle estimated the cost to renovate the immense edifice into civilian office space, including removing lead paint and asbestos, would cost more than $10 million. But plans to adapt the prison were halted a month after Sawtelle's
Marker detail: Aerial Photograph, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, 2007 image. Click for full size.
Courtesy of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Public Affairs Office.
5. Marker detail: Aerial Photograph, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, 2007
Drawing of islands making up shipyard by Susan Kress Hamilton, Phineas (based on 1978 drawing by Sue Turner in the Cradle American Shipbuilding, a publication of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.)
death in 2000, and abandoned altogether after military base security was tightened following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York City and Washington D.C. (Submitted on April 6, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. PeaceWar, US CivilWaterways & Vessels
 
Portsmouth Navy Yard Marker (<i>wide view; Navy Yard in background across river</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 28, 2017
6. Portsmouth Navy Yard Marker (wide view; Navy Yard in background across river)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 8, 2018. This page originally submitted on April 6, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 56 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on April 6, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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