The Washington Navy Yard is established as the nation’s home port and shipbuilding facility. Ultimately, 22 ships are built here.


During the War of 1812, Commodore Thomas Tingey orders the yard to be burned upon seeing the British set fire to the Capitol.

After the War of 1812

Shipbuilding gradually ceases to be the yard’s core function because the Anacostia is too shallow for new, larger vessels.


The yard becomes a manufacturing center for all Navy ordnance.


At its peak around World War II, the yard employs nearly 25,000 people and consists of 188 buildings.


Ordnance work is phased out. Factory buildings are converted to administrative use.


Congress agrees to move in several major commands here which spurs new construction and employees.


In addition to serving as headquarters for five commands, it has a naval museum and ship open to visitors.

The 30th chief of naval operations, Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, lives in the historic
Tingey House.

Building 197

Originally, this high-bay
industrial structure built
battleship guns during WWII.
A renovation completed in
2001 converted it into a 5-story office,
with a four-story addition to house the
Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA)
headquarters. The command designs, builds and maintains ships and naval systems.

Other Commands

In addition to NAVSEA, the Washington Navy Yard is home to:

Naval Facilities Engineering Command, builds and maintains sustainable facilities, delivers utilities and services, and provides Navy expeditionary combat force capabilities.

Military Sealift Command, operates 110 ships around the world that sustain warfighting forces and deliver specialized maritime services.

Office of the Naval Inspector General

Office of the Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG)


The yard houses various tourist sites including:

  • The National Museum of the U.S. Navy, which displays naval art and artifacts that highlight the history of the Navy.
  • The Cold War Gallery which explores the Navy’s role during the Cold War.
  • Display ship USS Barry brought to the yard in 1984, the destroyer was commissioned in 1956.

SOURCE: The Washington Navy Yard, an illustrated history by Edward J. Marolda; Naval History and Heritage Command; NAVSEA; the Library of Congress; Aerial image via Pictometry, International.