Fore River Shipyard
Review and History

The Fore River Shipyards was a major shipyard, called the Fore River Ship and Engine Building Company, in at the turn of the 20th Century. Many famous warships were built there from 1900 through World War II, including aircraft carriers, battleships, cruisers, destroyers, and submarines.

Today, the Fore River Shipyards is a 111-acre site in both Quincy and Braintree, MA. Located 10 miles from downtown Boston, Massachusetts, the Fore River was recently dredged so that it can accept Panamax class vessels.

Port History

Thomas Watson, assistant to Alexander Graham Bell, founded Fore River Shipyards in the early 20th century. In 1913, Bethlehem Steel bought the shipyards. At its peak during World War II, the Shipyards employed 50 thousand workers. It was part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Arsenal of Democracy.”

After World War II, the shipyards went into decline. In 1964, General Dynamics Corporation bought the shipyards and invested $23 million US to make it more competitive in the shipbuilding industry. Several US Navy ships were built there, including some nuclear-powered submarines. In 1994, the last all-gun heavy cruiser ever built (USS Salem) returned to the Quincy yard to become the centerpiece of the Naval Shipbuilding Museum.

After many attempts to revive the shipyards for shipbuilding, a local auto dealer bought the property in 2004 for storage and distribution of motor vehicles. But the shipyard is still a port for commuter boats operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority serving Boston and Hull. It is also used for servicing heavy construction and marine equipment, for sewage sludge heat-drying and pellitizing by the Quincy Bay Terminal Company, and for short line freight rail service to South Braintree.

Fore River Shipyards contained the Goliath crane, which was at one time the world’s second largest shipbuilding crane. The 328-foot tall crane was built in the 1970s for building liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers, and it is still a part of the harbor skyline. However, the crane was scheduled to be dismantled in 2008 for sale to a South Korean shipbuilding company.

Today, the Fore River Shipyards Redevelopment Project is underway to create a mixed-use working waterfront “village” for Quincy and Braintree residents and the Boston region. Open space and public access are important to the project, as is memorializing the men and women who worked at the Shipyard throughout its history.

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