Barrel of a Gun, circa 1937

washington navy yard big gun shop
U.S. Navy photo, click for larger

This image, courtesy of the U.S Navy Heritage and History Command, was taken in 1937 at the “Big Gun Shop” in the Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

On 14 August 1886, the Secretary of the Navy, William C. Whitney, signed General Order 354, establishing the Naval Gun Factory at the Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC.  This order changed the Washington Navy Yard from an agency primarily engaged with the the care and maintenance of ships to one devoted almost solely to ordnance production.  At its peak during World War II, the Washington Navy Yard consisted of 188 buildings on 126 acres of land and employed nearly 25,000 people.

View a 1952 Navy documentary that looks at the design and production facilities of the former Naval Gun Factory at Washington Navy Yard.