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Dry Dock #1, Brooklyn Navy Yard

- NWhyC - Tuesday, April 21st, 2009 : goo

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image 32678
Dry Dock 1 is the oldest in the , and the third oldest in the country, completed in 1851.

image 32679
It was a huge innovation for its time, and had a price tag to match... $2 million in 1851 dollars!

image 32680

image 32682

image 32684

image 32685

image 32687
The materials seem incredibly solid, but under the landfill that makes up the Navy Yard,
the construction kept bobbing up out of the ground.

image 32689
Eventually, over 1,000 oaken piles we used to secure the dry dock in the ground—perhaps the
first time a steam powered was ever used.

image 32690
The dry dock is still working, over 158 years later. Its door, basically a water filled closure,
holds back the so that ships can be worked on. It takes 90 minutes to empty the space,
but only 45 minutes to fill it.

image 32691

image 32692

image 32694

image 32695

image 32696
The blocks that occupy the bottom of the dry dock hold up the ships. Their placement is a very accurate
affair, as they have to accommodate every angle of ship to hold it—thus the numbers on the sides of the
chamber. They are made of wood, but with cement within. They are placed using the cranes on the sides
of the dock, which run on rails.

image 32701
Today, the ship is a repair facility, one of the three dry docks operated by for the
. Together, they are the last functioning graving docks (in the ground) operating
in , since the demise of under the parking lot. There are also a small
number of floating dry docks operating in . They serve vital role in repairing and
servicing and , the work horses of the upon which so much traffic depends.

image 32697

image 32698

image 32699

During the 19th century, ships were also built in Dry Dock 1. The historical list is pretty illustrious, including:

* the Niagara (1867): the ship that laid the first successful
* The Monitor (1862): After being built at the in , it was commissioned (armed and launched) in
* Halstead’s Folly or The Intelligent Whale (1872) the prototype of the first submarines ever built
* The Maine (1897) which had a very short sailing life before it exploded in , setting off the in 1898.

has a long history, but its job is not done. With continuing maintenance, it will be working for decades more to serve the city...

, ...

This article has been viewed 44255 times in the last 5 years


volare: AMAZING pics. Thanks very much!

elly: 21st Apr 2009 - 07:42 GMT

love the sky and skyline in the 3rd photo. looks like a painting.

S & D: 21st Apr 2009 - 14:02 GMT

WOW.... What a crazy place! Thanks for all the info, too. Truly educational, as well as entertaining.

Kirsten Larson: 21st Apr 2009 - 16:40 GMT

Wow is right. What a weird almost foreboding looking place. I can't believe they still use it to work on boats after so looooong.

St. Seurs: 21st Apr 2009 - 17:01 GMT

Awesome, very cool. I never knew a hole in the ground could have so much history ;-)

Andy: 21st Apr 2009 - 18:43 GMT

part of what has made America great and is going away all the time

Gothicimage: 21st Apr 2009 - 19:40 GMT

That's a mere youngster - the oldest dry dock in Portsmouth Dockyard dates back to 1495! :-)

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMNB_Portsmouth

NWhyC: 21st Apr 2009 - 22:51 GMT

image 32716

image 32717

image 32718

image 32719

image 32720

Linda Wharton: 15th May 2009 - 14:26 GMT

I have a photograph taken at the Brooklyn Navy Yard of my great-grandfather in the early 20th century with a sailing ship at No. 2 Dry Dock TEVO? PEWG? (illegible) Plant. The ship is white and 3 masted. Any ideas?

Peter: Can we see that photo??

JWT: 3rd Jul 2009 - 04:05 GMT

My father worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and told me stories of the dry docks. Thanks for the images to go with the stories.

Bob Morgan: 19th Jul 2009 - 16:34 GMT

I spent most of 1984 on US Navy destoyer that was in dry dock for
overhaul. It gave me a chance to explore this historic ship yard.
Viewing these dry dock pictures bring back a lot of memories of my
time spent there.

Clocker: 15th Sep 2009 - 03:46 GMT

WOW, what an awesome post! This place looks amazing!

Doug Lawson: 19th Oct 2009 - 20:03 GMT

Hi , love your photos, brings back memories of working down a dry dock here in Leith the port of Edinburgh Scotland. Our docks here were smaller maybe handling 20,00 tons but across the forth at the navy yard there is a dry dock that was built to service the dreadnaughts and upwards, they had to build a notch in one end for the mighty Hood 42,000 tons and developing 151,000hp for 32 knots. There is nothing like being down a dry dock beside a big ship out of her element...kinda spooky.

Frank Gunja: 28th Oct 2009 - 18:42 GMT

Great pictures! I was part of the crew that recommisioned the USS Pocono (AGC-16) that sat in mothballs at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Brought back many memories.

william t. bernal: 7th Nov 2009 - 05:51 GMT

This is a great resource,my son and I are building a diarama based on the book "Iron Thunder" seeing
the dry dock is a wonderfull insperation.Thank You!!

adam: 20th Feb 2010 - 19:58 GMT

It looks like the gate (a.k.a caisson, graving dock door) has a huge bulge in the middle. Is that a camera lense optical illusion or does the gate actually bulge (hopefully it was built that way!!)?

Don Ladd: 5th Mar 2010 - 04:53 GMT

I was at The Navy Yard from 10/64 to 03/65 while my ship U.S.S. Lexington CVS-16 was under major overhaul. I would not trade that experience for the world. It saddens me to know that The Yard has fallen to progress. What an illustrious life it had.

mario perez: 1st May 2010 - 01:06 GMT

excellent article, recently I took at least 100 photos of a graving dock built in the dominican republic on 1950, the main purpose is draw a layout previous to build a model

Ray "Riverboat" Breslin: 10th Jun 2010 - 02:48 GMT

I was at there in M division in 1965 guarding the USS Lexington. What a cold miserable Winter that was there, but I loved every minute of it!

Allan Wallach FORMER BM2 USN 66-72: 29th Jul 2010 - 02:52 GMT

AS A BROOKLYNITE, LOVER OF THE BROOKLYN NAVY YARD,AND IT'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE HIGH SEAS I REALLY ENJOYED THE ARTICLE AND IT REMINDS ME OF THE "BEAN TOWN " YARD.
I WAS A YOUNG BOATSWAINSMATE STRIKER WHEN I FIRST CLIMBED DOWN INTO THE DRY DOCK IN BOSTON, TO VIEW THE "SCREWS" OF MY SHIP, THE US.S. STICKELL DD-888, "THE STEAMIN' DEMON". THIS ARICLE BROUGHT GREAT MEMORIES OF THE NAVY,IT'S YARDS,AND ESPECIALLY OUR NAVY YARD IN BROOKLYN.

Captain Haddock: 29th Jul 2010 - 10:10 GMT

image 43998
Dry Dock No2 In Dudia is the largest in the World I think the Germans are in the process of buidling a bigger one. That is 2 Tankers sitting inside the basin, to give you an idea of the scale of the thing.

DICK RAMSEY: 5th Aug 2010 - 18:29 GMT

1942,I WORKED ON THE USS IOWA,SAW IT LAUNCHED,THE WATER CAME UP TO OUR KNEES WENT IT WAS LAUNCHED,MU GREAT GRAND FATHER WAS A BOILER MAKER AND HELPED BUILD THE MONITOR,IWAS WORKING ON THE USS MISSOURI STOOD ON THE KEEL A WEEK BEFOR I JOINED THE NAVY 1943,I SERVED ON BOARD THE USS NEVADA BB36 FOR 3 YEARS....MY JOB AT THE NAVY YARD WAS A PIPEFITTERS HELPER,I REMEMBER AT HE HAMERHEAD CRANE ,WHILE THE WERE LOWERING ONE OF THE 16" GUNS ON THE IOWA THE CABLE SNAPPED AND THE GUN HIT THE TURRET,NOW ONE WAS INJURED.. IT WAS STRANGE THAT MY FAMILY WAS CONNECTED TO THE BUILDING OF THE FIRST AND LAST OF THE BATTLESHIP THE BB36 AND THE BB63 XXX

Marsha Heitman: 7th Aug 2010 - 17:38 GMT

My dad helped weld the 16" guns on the Missouri and when it was in Long Beach before heading out to Pearl Harbor he was able to go aboard and see her for one last time. His name was Ray Perry and he wanted to serve but was told his welding skills were needed more.Apparently they were right. Awesome ship. Can't wait to see her when we go to Hawaii.

Frank J. Trezza: 16th Oct 2010 - 21:10 GMT

I worked in the once great yard when Seatrain Shipbuilding built VLCC's,
barges and Ro-Ro's. Coastal Dry Dock & Repair worked on conversion and repairs of Naval Vessels. If you would like to see pictures of the last and bigest ships ever to be built in the yard please vist
www.BrooklynSteel-BloodTenacity.com If you are interested in what killed shipbuilding in the Brooklyn Navy Yard please click on the Appendix link.

Peter Gianesini: 29th Oct 2010 - 03:08 GMT

My father worked at the yard during WWII. It was hard to fathom the huge compliment of workers employed there. He related to me the repairs that were done to the light cruiser Marblehead, which took a terrific pounding by the Japs in the Dutch East Indies. It took many casualties, and limped half way around the world to have repairs done in Brooklyn.
Stories from an era when our country was an industrial giant.

Alex Wilkinson 03 Nov 2010: 4th Nov 2010 - 00:08 GMT

Thank you for all the pics and info. My husband's grandfather was a boiler maker at the Yard. He sailed the world twice - once under sail and once under steam. He worked on building the Maine boilers. He was serving on the Admiral's flagship at the battle of Manilla in Havana Harbor just after the Maine blew and earned several Sapnish American War Medals.

tonnaey lightfoot: 21st Dec 2010 - 11:19 GMT

greetings dose anyone remmember that very special welder-TONNAEY LIGHTFOOT who was there in yhe brooklyn navy yard dry dock in the mid 80s?

Frank J. Trezza: 28th Dec 2010 - 20:16 GMT

A little history on Coastal Dry Dock & Repair Corp. Brooklyn Navy Yard &
Seatrain Shipbuilding Brooklyn Navy Yard 1968-1986 visit web site:
www.AppendixBrooklynSteelBloodTenacity.com

libby: how big is a dry dock

libby: how big is a dry dock

Mr Adam Smolkowicz: Smolkowicz there some cool pics

christopher sinni: 11th May 2011 - 05:02 GMT

looking for pictures of grandfather that woorked at broklen nave shipyard in the 1950s

ChrisR: 10th Jun 2011 - 07:19 GMT

My grandfather worked at Brooklyn Navy Yard back in the '30s, '40s & '50s, and retired from that job in the late '50s. He was some kind of administrative supervisor in an engineering department.

I now live on Mare Island, the former Mare Island Naval Shipyard in northern California about 25 miles north of San Francisco.

How are things going with the redevelopment of Brooklyn Navy Yard?

tonnaey lightfoot: 12th Jul 2011 - 14:14 GMT

hi everyone does any one rember juliia mirel welder in the 80s

Carmen Alejandro: 14th Aug 2011 - 04:31 GMT

Wow i remember this shipyard so well brought back so many memories. I worked for lou montana i was his secretary for a couple of years ,, I also worked for lou dad. I left the brooklyn navy yard some where around 1980 I didnt realize how much history was here at the navy yard ....

Rich McKeever: 24th Jan 2012 - 03:44 GMT

I took my Naval reserve training here on the USS Massey DD-778 back in 69 or 70. We were docked in the yard for a period of time. Also used to live on Long Island not too far from there. Brings back a lot of memories. The Massey was a WWII Sumner class, funny because I spent my career and retired from The Los Alamos National Lab where the bombs that ended that war were designed and built, before my time though. Small world I guess.

michael taylor tank tester: 4th Feb 2012 - 19:47 GMT

anyone work for costal late 70's early 80's

Franny Wentzel: 4th Feb 2012 - 20:12 GMT

That $2 Million 1851 price tag would set you back neary $52 million today

jason johnson: 21st Feb 2012 - 16:28 GMT

outstanding pictures, we will always remember, Sydney harbour has suffered the same fate.

Eddie Lachoy: 30th May 2012 - 20:22 GMT

Great pics- I worked in Seatrain on the Williamsburg and the Brooklyn- my first job. I'm glad I made it out of there whole!
I later did my US Navy Reserve drills there.

surendra yadav: 8th Jun 2012 - 07:35 GMT

sear sir i like in dry docks working i want to caming in canada pl give me chans

danielvillanueva49@yahoo.com: 9th May 2013 - 16:56 GMT

wais020800[uscis -communications 1037 c/d p.cm selectiveservices 7021 workforce 7021 epa 0237 certification HQ70/5.5 albany 119.071 tallahassee section 5 cfr united states supreme court legal federal commissions bronx community college manhattan new york 60th centre street v270/214 27cm

anon (pool-173-68-64-180.nycmny.fios.verizon.net): 18th Jul 2013 - 22:20 GMT

Hi mikeTaylor from Jimmy Magee PipeFitter at Coastal. Samswinner@aol.com
I found this site today by accident hope all is well with you.1

anon (f5-http-vip.bnl.gov): 14th Feb 2014 - 21:06 GMT

I was a rigger there, with Coastal Dry Dock. Great job, great riggers....our bosses were...Teddy Hansen and Pete Ratacyk

Joe Fisher: 23rd Apr 2014 - 15:00 GMT

Hi, mike taylor and jimmy magee I worked for coastal as a timekeeper for danny carrique back in the 80's. remember john hemmy, dean lampe, bobby castellano, killer from the boilermakers. my first job a lot of great memorys!

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