chapter  7
20 Pages

Twelve miles, eighteen years, and worlds apart

The cases of the Philadelphia Navy Yard and the Frankford Arsenal
WithChristopher A. Preble

This chapter focuses on two facilities closed in Philadelphia around this time, and which were both built in the early to mid nineteenth century: the Philadelphia Navy Yard, constructed in the early 1870s, and the Frankford Arsenal, located about 12 miles upriver and built in 1816. It outlines some of the reasons why, including: timing, proper planning, investment in public-private partnerships, and thorough environmental clean-up. The city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and its surrounding communities have hosted a number of military facilities throughout their long histories. The Marine Corps was founded at Philadelphia's Tun Tavern in November 1775. The first Philadelphia shipyard was one of the oldest government facilities in the United States. The Continental Congress leased land for the fledgling nation's tiny navy along Philadelphia's Front Street docks in 1776. For more than 160 years, the Frankford Arsenal made munitions for the US military, chiefly bullets and cartridges for small arms, then also later shrapnel and high explosives for artillery.