Originally known as Moon Shipyard and Repair Corporation, founders Guy H. Moon, George C. Lyon, Sr. established the Elizabeth River yard in 1928. The original facilities included a frame machine shop with offices and storeroom on the second floor, and a carpenter shed located at the head of two marine railways. The company provided dry-docking and repair services to the harbor's many wooden barges, fishing vessels, and steam powered tugs, and it was just one of many of these types of shipyards on the Norfolk, Virginia waterfront.
Norfolk's harbor was the distribution point for break-bulk cargo from overseas, as well as the consolidation point for Virginia's bounty of seafood, forest, and agricultural products. Norfolk was considered the head of the intercoastal waterway and the main seaport of the mid-Atlantic. The yard made many changes to its facilities as shipbuilding technologies changed and vessels grew larger and became harder to handle.
Lyon Shipyard aided in WWII by working on small naval and military vessels. After the war ended, the yard once again focused its business on commercial customers. In the following decades, the yard went through many ownership changes and business ups and downs.
The shipyard leased a drydock in the early 1990's, which gave it the capacity to drydock inland and coastal barges up to approximately 350 feet long and 85 feet wide. These changes allowed the company to meet the demands of ever growing commercial tugs and barge fleets.