Philadelphia Navy Yard was located on the former League Island on the Delaware River near the mouth of the Schuylkill River. Founded in 1762, it was here that the Continental Navy and Marines were formed in 1775 and here that frigate United States, the first American warship launched under the naval provisions of the Constitution, was built. Later it was a place where many technical innovations such as Ericsson’s screw propeller were developed.

During the Civil War, it was the southernmost navy yard that did not fall to the Confederacy. In 1876, the yard was relocated from Philadelphia’s Southwark district. Technological developments associated with Philadelphia Navy Yard over the next 70 years included steam turbine propulsion and marine radio.

When destroyer production resumed in the 1930s, Philadelphia built four 1,500-tonners and the last Sims-class ship. During World War II, it also completed two late Gleaves-class ships while focusing on types that other yards could not build as efficiently or at all, e.g., fast battleships Washington, New Jersey and Wisconsin.

Following the war, the yard continued to serve as a vital part of the Navy shore establishment, refurbishing and modernizing vessels as well as maintaining a large reserve fleet until it closed in 1996.