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Photograph of destroyers and SS Katrina Luckenbach fitting out at Fore River Shipyard, Quincy, Massachusetts taken March 19, 1918.

The Fore River Shipyard, more formally known as the Fore River Ship and Engine Building Company, was a shipyard in the United States from 1883 until 1986. Located on the Weymouth Fore River, the yard began operations in 1883 in Braintree, Massachusetts before being moved downstream to its permanent location in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1901. The shipyard helped build early U.S. submarines and many ships commissioned by the United States Navy, including the World War II battleship USS Massachusetts (BB-59) and aircraft carriers USS Wasp (CV-7) and USS Bunker Hill (CV-17). In the 1960s, the yard was purchased by General Dynamics. It continued to produce ships for the Navy until being converted to LNG tanker production before finally closing in 1986.

The yard built the Thomas W. Lawson, the largest pure sailing ship ever built and ARA Rivadavia, one of two foreign battleships built in the United States. It was home to the "Goliath" crane, for a time the second-largest shipbuilding crane in the world. It is also the likely origin of the World War II "Kilroy was here" graffiti character.

Contents

History

Early history and war years

Engraving of Kilroy on the WWII Memorial in Washington DC. The graffiti character and slogan together were first used by welding inspector John J. Kilroy to mark inspected work at the shipyard during the war.

Started by Thomas A. Watson in 1883, the shipyard was located on the Weymouth Fore River near East Braintree, Massachusetts. In 1901, the yard was moved to Quincy in the eastern part of the Quincy Point neighborhood. By the time that the Russo-Japanese War broke out in 1904, the company was operated under the direction of former Admiral Francis T. Bowles, who had become the company's president in a late 1903 reorganization, displacing Thomas Watson, who assumed the title Chairman of the Board. Watson, who was pleased with how Bowles ran the yard, stepped aside in 1904.[1]

In 1913, Bethlehem Steel purchased the yard. It built many renowned warships and liberty ships during World War II. John J. Kilroy, the apparent originator of the famous "Kilroy was here" graffiti, was a welding inspector at Fore River during the war years.[2]

General Dynamics years

Fore River changed hands again in 1964, when it was purchased by General Dynamics Corporation. The shipyard became General Dynamics Quincy Shipbuilding Division, and General Dynamics invested $23 million to improve the shipyard to make it more competitive. The yard constructed several ships for the U.S. Navy, including nuclear-powered submarines, ammunition ships, replenishment oilers, and dock landing ships.[3][4] The shipyard converted to building LNG tankers during its final years, but closed for good in 1986.[5] Although shipbuilding operations ceased at that time, the name of the yard continues to be used, and the location is still referred to as Fore River Shipyard.[6]

Post-closing years

In 1994, USS Salem (CA-139)—the last all-gun heavy cruiser ever built—returned to the Quincy yard, becoming the centerpiece of the United States Naval Shipbuilding Museum. Following several abortive attempts to restart the shipyard as a shipbuilding center, the property was bought by Daniel Quirk, a local auto dealer in 2004, to use as a motor vehicle storage and distribution facility, but is still a port for commuter boats to Boston and Hull run by Harbor Express for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). The yard also is used by Jay Cashman, Inc., for heavy construction and marine equipment services, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, as a sewage sludge heat-drying and pelletizing facility and by Fore River Transportation Corporation, for short line freight rail service to CSXT South Braintree.

Goliath crane

Goliath crane, January 2008

An important facility at the shipyard was the "Goliath" crane, at one point the second largest shipbuilding crane in the world. Constructed in 1975 for building LNG tankers, the crane was a prominent part of the harbor skyline for over thirty years. In early 2008, the 328-foot (100 m) tall crane located at the former shipyard was sold to Daewoo-Mangalia Heavy Industries S. A., a joint-venture company of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Ltd. of South Korea and former state shipayard 2 Mai Mangalia S. A. of Romania, which began dismantling[7] it in July, 2008 for relocation to Mangalia, Romania.[8][9]

Dismantlement accidents

On August 14, 2008, ironworker Robert Harvey was killed when a portion of the Goliath crane collapsed during dismantlement.[10] Work on the crane's removal was halted for two months while local and federal officials investigated the accident, but later resumed and was completed in early 2009.[11] As a result of their investigation, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued fines totalling $68,000 on January 13, 2009.[12] A barge carrying the crane was christened the USS Harvey in honor of the fallen worker and left the shipyard on March 7, 2009 en route to Romania.[13][14]

The August 2008 fatal incident was preceded by two other deaths involving demolition of a smaller gantry at the shipyard on January 26, 2005.[15] The earlier incident resulted in an OSHA ruling against Testa Corporation of Lynnfield, Massachusetts, including a proposed $60,400 fine.[16] Following the 2005 collapse, violations involving improper cleanup and removal of asbestos found in debris left by the accident resulted in a $75,000 penalty imposed against Testa by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.[17]

Significant Ships

US Navy Warships

Numerous famous warships were built at the Fore River Shipyard. A partial list is below. The date in parentheses indicates the date the ship was commissioned by the U.S. Navy.

Aircraft carriers

Battleships

Massachusetts fires a full broadside. Outbound projectiles are in upper left of photo.

Cruisers

St. Paul was the last Baltimore class cruiser providing gunfire support for ground forces.

Destroyers

Gregory was one of the World War I veterans converted to high speed transports for the Battle of Guadalcanal.
Many Fore River destroyers never saw combat with the United States Navy, but twelve served with the Royal Navy in the Destroyers for Bases Agreement twenty years later.

Submarines

O class
Fore River Shipyard built eight of the sixteen United States O class submarines.
R class
Fore River Shipyard built 14 of the 27 United States R class submarines.
S class
Fore River Shipyard built 19 of the 31 "Holland type" United States S class submarines.

Other ships

ARA Rivadavia.

Reading list

  • Palmer, David. Organizing the Shipyards: Union Strategy in Three Northeast Ports, 1933-1945. Cornell University Press 1998. ISBN 978-0801427343
  • Drummond, Dave. The Shipyard: Will It Float?. iUniverse 2003. ISBN 978-0595275328

External links

Coordinates: 42°14′19.75″N 70°58′20.60″W / 42.2388194°N 70.972389°W / 42.2388194; -70.972389

References

  1. ^ Rines, Lawrence S.; Sarcone, Anthony F.. "A History of Shipbuilding at Fore River". Thomas Crane Public Library. http://thomascranelibrary.org/shipbuildingheritage/history/historyindex.html. Retrieved 2008-09-03.  
  2. ^ Osgood, Charles (2001). Kilroy Was Here: The Best American Humor From World War II. New York: Hyperion. pp. 19. ISBN 9780786866618. OCLC 45532422. http://books.google.com/books?id=VzeUInvfBF4C&pg=PA19. Retrieved 2009-07-29.  
  3. ^ HazeGray.org: "Fore River Shipyard Production Record"
  4. ^ "Quincy Shipbuilding Division"
  5. ^ Langner, Paul (May 18, 1986), "Ship's Christening Signals Shipyard's Death", The Boston Globe: Metro Section, p. 29  
  6. ^ "Fore River Shipyard". Fore River Shipyard Redevelopment Project. http://www.forerivershipyard.com. Retrieved 2009-08-04.  
  7. ^ Graham, George (2008-2009), Goliath Crane, http://www.sackrabbit.com/goliath_00.html  
  8. ^ Jette, Julie (January 5, 2008), "Farewell, GOLIATH: The skyline is about to change", The Patriot Ledger: 1, http://www.patriotledger.com/archive/x1295927615  
  9. ^ The Patriot Ledger produced a video about "Goliath" which is available on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NqyOY1jkVs
  10. ^ "Crane collapse kills ironworker", The Boston Globe, August 15, 2008.
  11. ^ "Removal of shipyard crane in Quincy expected to be finished by Christmas". The Patriot Ledger. November 7, 2008. http://www.patriotledger.com/homepage/x1994750396/Removal-of-shipyard-crane-in-Quincy-expected-to-be-finished-by-Christmas. Retrieved 2008-11-11.  
  12. ^ "U.S. Labor Department's OSHA issues citations in connection with fatality during dismantling of Goliath gantry crane at former Quincy, Mass., shipyard". U.S. Department of Labor. January 13, 2009. http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=17300. Retrieved 2009-01-15.  
  13. ^ Aicardi, Robert (February 27, 2009). "Departing Goliath crane renamed USS Harvey". Braintree Forum. http://www.wickedlocal.com/braintree/news/x1959830142/Departing-Goliath-crane-renamed-USS-Harvey. Retrieved 2009-03-09.  
  14. ^ Lotan, Gal Tziperman (March 7, 2009). "Landmark Goliath crane ships out for new home in Romania". The Patriot Ledger. http://www.patriotledger.com/homepage/x1676793715/Landmark-Goliath-crane-leaves-today. Retrieved 2009-03-09.  
  15. ^ "Two die in Braintree collapse", The Boston Globe, January 27, 2005.
  16. ^ U.S. Department of Labor OSHA News Release, July 11, 2005.
  17. ^ "2006 Enforcement Actions". Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. http://www.mass.gov/dep/public/press/curren03.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-20.  
  18. ^ Silverstone (1968) p.38
  19. ^ a b c d Silverstone (1968) p.42
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Tillman (2005) pp.301-306
  21. ^ a b Silverstone (1968) p.46
  22. ^ Silverstone (1968) p.16
  23. ^ Silverstone (1968) p.28
  24. ^ a b Silverstone (1968) p.85
  25. ^ Silverstone (1968) p.67
  26. ^ a b c Silverstone (1968) p.71
  27. ^ a b Silverstone (1968) p.89
  28. ^ a b c d e f Silverstone (1968) p.94
  29. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Silverstone (1968) p.79
  30. ^ a b Silverstone (1968) p.82
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj Fahey (1941) pp.16-17
  32. ^ Silverstone (1968) p.112
  33. ^ a b c d Silverstone (1968) p.114
  34. ^ a b Silverstone (1968) p.124
  35. ^ a b Silverstone (1968) p.126
  36. ^ a b c d e f Silverstone (1968) p.129
  37. ^ a b c d Silverstone (1968) p.152
  38. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Silverstone (1968) p.179
  39. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Silverstone (1968) p.180
  40. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Blair (1975) pp.875-957
  41. ^ a b c d e f Silverstone (1968) p.183
  42. ^ World Battleships List, at Hazegray
  • Blair, Clay Jr. (1975). Silent Victory, Volume 2. J. B. Lippincott Company. ISBN 978-1557502179.  
  • Fahey, James C. (1941). The Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet, Two-Ocean Fleet Edition. Ships and Aircraft. ISBN 978-0870216466.  
  • Silverstone, Paul H. (1968). U.S. Warships of World War II. Doubleday and Company. ISBN 978-0870217739.  
  • Tillman, Barrett (2005). Clash of the Carriers. New American Library. ISBN 978-0451216700.  

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