Navy Yard Neighborhood

The Navy Yard is a functioning naval base, luxury residential neighborhood and dining destination. The Yards, located between Nationals Park and the Navy Yard, adds award-winning restaurants, craft breweries, retail, the Yards Marina and Yards Park. Combined, they offer year-round entertainment and activities, as well as luxury condos and apartments.


Start with a steaming cup of energy at Philz. Run along the 20 mi Riverfront Trail. Crush a class at Vida Fitness. Sit for a wine tasting at District Wintery then crunch fresh-baked pretzels on the patio at Bluejacket. See and be seen at the Penthouse Pool Club. Slurp banana bourbon caramel at Ice Cream Jubilee. Tune up your two wheels at Conte's Bike Shop. Head to the marina and watch the cranes fly. Sway with your significant other at Jazz Fest. Savour the Shrimp & Andouille Gumbo at Chloe. Catch a Nats game. Wade into history. Star gaze. Set sail.

Yards Bridge sunrise dog walk uai

SCHOOLS

AMIDON BOWEN

Public • Grades PK-5

JEFFERSON MIDDLE

Public • Grades 6-8

WILSON HIGH

Public • Grades 9-12

For a full, updated list of schools, visit DC Boundary Schools. Click the cap to go to school website. School data by SchoolDigger

TRANSPORTATION

2 METRO

Navy Yard-Ballpark Station runs on the Green line. Waterfront Station at 4th & M runs on the Green line.

20 BUS LINES

14 CAPITAL BIKESHARE

1 CAR SERVICES

Neighborhood History


Purchase And Establishment

The Navy Yard land was purchased under an Act of Congress on July 23, 1799 and the Yard was established on October 2nd of the same year. It is the oldest shore establishment of the U.S. Navy.

The Yard

The Yard was constructed under the direction of Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Stoddert and supervised by Commodore Thomas Tingey, who served in the position for 29 years. A white brick wall marked the original boundaries along 9th and M Street SE. In 1801, two additional lots were purchased. The north wall of the Yard was built in 1809 along with a guardhouse, now known as the Latrobe Gate. After the Burning of Washington in 1814, Tingey recommended that the height of the eastern wall be increased to ten feet due to the fire and subsequent looting. The southern boundary was formed by the Anacostia River, added to by landfill over the years as it became necessary to increase the size of the Yard. The west side was undeveloped marsh.

Shipbuilding And Shipfitting

The Washington Navy Yard became the navy’s largest shipbuilding and shipfitting facility, with 22 vessels constructed there, ranging from small 70-foot gunboats to the 246-foot steam frigate USS Minnesota. The USS Constitution came to the Yard in 1812 to refit and prepare for combat action. During the War of 1812, the Navy Yard was important not only as a support facility, but also as a strategic link in the city’s defense. When the British marched into Washington, holding the Yard became impossible. Tingey, seeing the smoke from the burning Capitol, ordered the Yard burned to prevent its capture by the enemy. Both structures are now individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After the War of 1812, the Yard never regained its prominence as a shipbuilding facility. The Anacostia River was too shallow to accommodate larger vessels, and the Yard was deemed too inaccessible to the open sea.

DC's Largest Employer | Enslaved Labor

The Navy Yard had become the city’s largest employer by 1819. During World War II the Washington Navy Yard employed over 20,000 civilian workers. The Navy Yard was also the District’s principal employer of enslaved African Americans. Their numbers rose rapidly and by 1808, the enslaved made up one third of the workforce. The number of enslaved workers gradually declined during the next thirty years, though free and some enslaved African Americans remained a vital presence. One such person was former slave later freeman Michael Shiner, whose diary chronicled his life and work at the Yard for over fifty years.

Steam Technology

The Yard owned one of the earliest steam engines in the United States, making it a technology leader. The engine ran the saw mill and was used to manufacture anchors, chain, and steam engines for war vessels.

Civil War & Dahlgren

During the Civil War, the Yard once again became an important part of the defense of Washington. Commandant Franklin Buchanan resigned his commission to join the Confederacy, leaving the Yard to Commander John Adolphus Bernard Dahlgren, a United States Navy officer. Dahlgren founded his service's Ordnance Department and launched major advances in gunnery, including that of the smoothbore howitzer. President Abraham Lincoln frequently sought council with Dahlgren during his tenure and the two men remained in contact throughout Lincoln's presidency. The famous ironclad USS Monitor was repaired at the Yard after her historic battle with the CSS Virginia. The Lincoln assassination conspirators were brought to the Yard following their capture. The body of John Wilkes Booth was examined and identified on the monitor USS Montauk, moored at the Yard.

Post-Civil War

Following the Civil War, the Yard continued to be the scene of technological advances. In 1886, the Yard was designated the manufacturing center for all Navy ordnance. Commander Theodore F. Jewell was Superintendent of the Naval Gun Factory from January 1893 to February 1896. Ordnance production continued as the Yard manufactured armament for the Great White Fleet and the World War I navy. The 14-inch naval railway guns used in France during World War I were manufactured at the Yard. In WWII the Washington Navy Yard & Naval Gun Factory employed women in large numbers for trade and craft jobs for the first time. By this time, the Yard was the largest naval ordnance plant in the world. The weapons designed and built there were used in every war in which the United States fought until the 1960s. At its peak, the Yard consisted of 188 buildings on 126 acres of land and employed nearly 25,000 people. In December 1945, the Yard was renamed the U.S. Naval Gun Factory. Ordnance work continued for some years after World War II until finally phased out in 1961. Three years later, on July 1, 1964, the activity was re-designated the Washington Navy Yard. The deserted factory buildings began to be converted to office use. In 1963, ownership of 55 acres of the Washington Navy Yard Annex was transferred to the General Services Administration (GSA). The Yards at the Southeast Federal Center are part of this former property and now include the headquarters for the Department of Transportation. The Washington Navy Yard was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, and designated a National Historic Landmark on May 11, 1976. It is part of the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District and the Navy Yard neighborhood.

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Neighborhood information on this site is believed to be accurate but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice.