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The Boston Navy Yard, originally known as the Charlestown Navy Yard and later the Boston Naval Shipyard was one of the first ship construction yards created by the US Navy.

General Ship Corp. In 1799, while the US was fighting naval battles with France, there became a need for increased production and repair capacity. Founded in 1801, the Boston Navy Yard closed its doors in 1974. Although the thirty-acre property was passed on to the National Park Service, enough of the shipyard remained open to house the USS Constitution. The yard is also home to the USS Cassin Young, a destroyer from World War II that is now a museum. Locals still know this shipyard as the Charlestown Navy Yard.

The yard was established in Charlestown Massachusetts during the American Revolutionary War. Before the 1890s, the yard was mostly used for vessel maintenance and storage. After that, the focus turned towards construction. The Boston Navy Yard had the prestige of creating the USS Independence, the US’s first ship of the line. For the “New Navy,” they constructed steel ships after the 1890s. In 1833, the staff of the board included many important men such as Secretary of the Navy Levi Woodbury, Secretary of War Lewis Cass, and Vice President Martin Van Buren. After the Civil War, the Boston Navy Yard stopped construction and became an Equipment and Recruit Facility.

As with most shipyards, the Boston Navy Yard experienced an influx of vessels in need of maintenance. They repaired British Ships that had faced German destruction. As the Korean War and Vietnam War occurred so far overseas, they didn’t bring many projects into the Boston Navy Yard. Thus, after the completion of the Vietnam War, the shipyard shut down. However, it is still a tourist attraction, housing a museum ship (the USS Cassin Young). There is still one drydock in operation for repairs, but it mainly handles maintenance on historic ships.

Employees of the Boston Navy Yard have been among those diagnosed with asbestos-related health complications. Asbestos exposure was common in naval shipyards and those exposed have been diagnosed with the aggressive cancer mesothelioma, known only to be caused by asbestos exposure. If you believe you were exposed, you should seek the consultation of your physician and fill out the form on this page for a free mesothelioma information packet. Mesothelioma is a deadly disease and early recognition is the key to increasing treatment options.

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Tara Strand Senior Content Writer

Tara Strand specializes in researching and writing about asbestos, raising awareness and advocating for a ban.

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Reviewed By

Jennifer Lucarelli Legal Advisor and Contributor

Jennifer Lucarelli is a partner at the law firm of Early, Lucarelli, Sweeney & Meisenkothen, specializing in asbestos litigation.

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