In 1867 Hunters Point Naval Shipyard became the first dry dock for commercial use on the Pacific Coast. The California Drydock Company established this San Francisco Based yard which spanned six hundred thirty eight acres of waterfront. Hunters Point Naval Shipyard performed shipbuilding and repair services for 100 plus years until its closing in 1974.
One of the biggest accomplishments touted by the shipyard involved repairing the Great White Fleet that was on an around-the-world cruise in 1908. The Seventy-sixth Congress purchased the site in 1939 and subsequently leased it to Bethlehem Steel Company. The U.S. Navy named the yard San Francisco Naval Shipyard in 1941 once it took the yard over. The yard's work primarily included shipbuilding as well as submarine and naval ship modification, maintenance, and repairs. The yard also provided base housing and served as an outlet for naval ordinance training exercises.
The San Francisco Naval Shipyard served in a large capacity during the Second World War. At that time the yard repaired 600 fighting and support ships and spent many hours on maintenance for the Liberty Ship. The Navy Radiological Defense Laboratory (NRDL) was established at Hunters Point in the late 1940s and the shipyard was involved in the decontamination of ships that were formerly involved in nuclear weapons testing. The decontamination project ended in 1969 after severe budget cuts forced the program to close down.
Hunters Point Naval Shipyard took on significant work during the Korean conflict in the early 1950's. In 1965 further expansion occurred when the yard combined with Mare Island Naval Shipyard of Vallejo, California. With that expansion the two shipyards merged into the San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard. This strategy, designed to cut costs, did not work and the yards separated again in 1970. At that time the San Francisco yard took the identity Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. After closing on June 30, 1974, by order of the Department of Defense Shore Establishment Realignment Program, the San Francisco Shipyard was designated to Triple-A Shipyard, Hunters Point Division. Throughout the Triple-A years, abandoned buildings were leased to small businesses. There were also reports during this time of improper waste handling and disposal by Triple A.
Officially closed on April 1st, 1994, after over 100 years of shipbuilding and repairs, the shipyard site continues to be a source of contamination and decrepit structures that local people must continue to deal with in their daily lives. The shipyard is now part of a plan of redevelopment.
Many shipyard workers and veterans were exposed to asbestos at Hunter’s Point and as a result susceptible to developing mesothelioma. Papillary mesothelioma and sarcomatoid mesothelioma are two mesothelioma cell types. Because there is no cure, the mesothelioma life expectancy is typically short. Treatment usually involves chemotherapy with Onconase, Navelbine or Alimta® and can also involve surgical techniques like mesothelioma pleurodesis and pneumonectomy. Please consult our mesothelioma treatment guide and listing of mesothelioma clinics for more information on treatment for this cancer.Sources
Colletta, Paolo E., Ed.United States Navy and Marine Corps Bases, Domestic.. Greenwood Press: Westport, CT. 1985. Pgs. 591-2.