The base there was established In 1854 by Commodore David G. Farragut, its first commandant, on an island 3½ miles long by up to one mile wide.
During World War I the yard commenced construction of fifteen flush-deck destroyers and set a record in launching Ward 17½ days after laying her keel. During World War II, it repaired 1,227 ships and built 391 new ones.
Following World War II, the yard continued as a major overhaul and repair facility for submarines. It closed in 1996.