Not much larger than a few city blocks (219 acres, plus 72 acres of water), the Brooklyn
Navy Yard is one of the most historically significant sites in America. It was one of the U.S. Navy’s major shipbuilding and repair yards from 1801 to 1966. It produced more than 80 warships and hundreds of smaller vessels. At its height during World War II
, it worked around the clock, employing some 70,000 people. The yard built the Monitor
, the world’s first modern warship; the Maine, whose destruction set off the Spanish-American War; the Arizona, whose sinking launched America into World War II; and the Missouri, on whose deck World War II ended. On June 25, 1966, the flag at the Brooklyn Navy Yard was lowered for the last time and the 165-year-old institution ceased to exist. Sold to the City of New York for $22.4 million, the yard became a site for storage of vehicles, some light industry, and a modest amount of civilian ship repair.
Brooklyn occupies the west end of Long Island and before its incorporation into New York City was America's fourth largest city in the 1890 census. World War II was fought between the Allies and the Axis powers between 1939 and 1945. The Confederates armored the former US Navy vessel Merrimac, renamed it CSS VIrginia, and engaged the USS Monitor in the first naval battle between ironclads at Hampton Roads in 1862.