WASHINGTON -- The Washington Navy Yard, where at least 12 people were killed in a shooting rampage Monday, is the Navy's oldest land base.
Just 3.5 miles from the
The Navy Yard became the service’s largest shipbuilding facility after it was established in 1799, according to a Navy website. During the
After that, military officials decided the Anacostia was too shallow for an active base. The yard was limited to shipbuilding and, by the middle of the 19th century, mostly to manufacturing ordnance. For a century it supplied many of the cannons, other weapons and ammunition used by the U.S. fleet.
During the Civil War, with Confederate troops across the Potomac in Virginia, the base once again became a key strategic defense facility.
By World War II, it had become the largest naval ordinance plant in the world, according to the Navy. But in the 1960s, its factories were converted to office space.
The yard is now an important administrative center for the Navy, housing thousands of civilian and military workers, including the Naval Sea Systems Command, which provides the Navy with military materiel.
For that reason, the Washington Navy Yard is known as "the Quarterdeck of the Navy."
The neighborhood around the Navy Yard, once almost exclusively industrial, has in recent years been redeveloped as a residential area, adjacent to Capitol Hill. The Washington Nationals ballpark is just upriver from the base.