Drydock 1

Building Documentation and Scanning
Historic Research
Historic Resource Documentation
Mitigation for Section 106/Environmental Compliance
Mitigation Negotiation & Performance Oversight
Section 106/Environmental Compliance

U.S. Navy Drydock 1


Portsmouth, Virginia


Burns & McDonnell

Moffatt & Nichol

Norfolk Naval Shipyard

National Park Service

Project Goals

CPG staff was asked to prepare an update to the National Historic Landmark status for the U.S. Navy's Drydock 1.

Located at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia, Drydock 1 is the oldest operational drydock facility in the United States. It was put into service in 1834, and has been in use since, reaching landmark status in 1971.

Project Design

Due to the national significance of the resource's history, this project involved extensive research at local, state, and Federal archives, as well as private collections.

The updated NHL application expanded the historic context providing a more extensive analysis of the significance of the Drydock to U.S. Military History and Engineering History from the early nineteenth century through World War I.

Challenges & Accomplishments

As research was performed, new details came to light about the contributions of African American laborers and craftsman to the Drydock's construction.

Along with this, additional context was introduced regarding race relations and the labor strife of the period and the implications of Nat Turner’s Rebellion in nearby Southampton County on shipyard operations.