The Hunters Point Naval Shipyard was a United States Navy shipyard in San Francisco, California (USA), located on 638 acres (258 ha) of waterfront at Hunters Point in the southeast corner of the city.
Established in 1870, San Francisco Naval Shipyard was originally built to serve as a commercial shipyard. It consisted of two graving docks; these are a type of dry dock shaped like a narrow basin, usually made of earthen berms and concrete. It was purchased and built up in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century by the Union Iron Works company, later owned by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Company and named Hunters Point Drydocks, located at Potrero Point. Known as “The World’s Greatest Shipping Yard”, President Theodore Roosevelt trusted his Great White Fleet of battleships to be serviced at Hunters Point in 1907 according to historical records.
Aerial view of Hunters Point Naval Shipyard looking to the northwest. Dry Dock No. 4 is in the approximate center of the complex
With a length up to 304 meters, people often said they were so big that accommodating the world’s largest warships and passenger steamers was child’s play. During the beginning of the 20th century, this naval shipyard received its first extension by creation of land fill extending into the San Francisco Bay.
In the peaceful period after World War 1 and before World War 2, the Navy contracted the shipyard from the private owners in order to use the docks. The reason behind this is that the docks provided deep-water facilities between San Diego and Bremerton, Washington.
View, looking east, of USS ENTERPRISE in Hunters Point Naval Shipyard
Dry Dock No. 4 with dock pumped down
History of Hunters Point Naval Shipyard
The original docks were built on solid rock. In 1916 the drydocks were thought to be the largest in the world. Between World War I and the beginning of World War II the Navy contracted from the private owners for the use of the docks.
At the start of World War II the Navy recognized the need for greatly increased naval shipbuilding and repair facilities in the San Francisco Bay Area, and in 1940 acquired the property from the private owners, naming it Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. During the 1940s, many workers moved into the area to work at this shipyard and other wartime related industries.
The key fissile components of the first atomic bomb were loaded onto USS Indianapolis in July 1945 at Hunters Point for transfer to Tinian. After World War II and until 1969, the Hunters Point shipyard was the site of the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory, the US military’s largest facility for applied nuclear research.
In 1947 an enormous gantry crane with a 450-long-ton (460 t) capacity was completed at the site by the American Bridge Company. It was the largest crane in the world, and was intended to be used to remove the turrets of battleships so the guns could be quickly replaced while the old set was being refurbished on land.
Site excavations for Dry Dock No. 4, view looking southeast.
Hunters Point Naval Shipyard,, San Francisco, CA
The shipyard was run by the Navy until 1974, then it was leased to a commercial ship repair company.
As part of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, the Navy closed the shipyard and Naval base in 1994. Given the fact the shipyard once housed atomic bomb elements and oil-fired power generation facilities, a legacy of pollution was left after it’s closure. To this day the site is still being decontaminated. There is even evidence of falsified radiation test and soil tests result done by Tetra Tech proving that the site is safe for redevelopment and habitation.
Docking of the USS ENTERPRISE — Hunters Point Naval Shipyard,
Drydock No. 4, San Francisco,, CA
in 2017, the Navy stated that at least 386 out of the 25,000+ soil samples that have been collected over the past two decades were identified as “anomalous.” New homes built on the property were set to be available to tenants in the winter of 2014/2015. The first residents began moving into homes in June 2015.
In September 2016 the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) halted the transfer of additional land at Hunters Point from the Navy to the city and to real estate developers. Per a letter sent from the EPA to the Navy, the process was placed on hold until “the actual potential public exposure to radioactive material at and near” the shipyard can be “clarified.”
Congresswoman Pelosi and Senator Dianne Feinstein look on as San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and Secretary of the Navy the Honorable Gordon England sign an agreement on January 23, 2002 transferring the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard to San Francisco.
What is Current Status of Hunters Point Naval Shipyard?
As of August 2020, the former shipyard site is still being decontaminated, and has been split into multiple parcels to allow the Navy to declare them clean and safe for redevelopment separately.
The City is working with the Navy and federal and environmental regulators to expedite cleanup and transfer of the Shipyard to allow the City to move forward with community benefits like parks, affordable housing and jobs for Bayview Hunters Point residents. There is an urgent need for the Navy to fulfill its obligations under the Conveyance Agreement and convey the remainder of the Shipyard parcels to the City as quickly as possible in a condition that is consistent with the City’s reuse plans.
Is Hunters Point Naval Shipyard still radioactive?
State claims no dangerous radiation found in Hunters Point neighborhood. San Francisco’s Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure (OCII) says that a state inspection has ruled a key section of the Hunters Point Shipyard “free from any radiological health and safety hazards.”
Rare Historic Photos of Hunters Point Naval Shipyard
Keep on scrolling to take a look at Abandonedway list of rare historical photos of Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. Each of these rare historical photos has a unique story to tell. Some photographs, however, are so rare that they show history as you’ve never seen it before.
The U.S. Navy destroyer escort USS Currier (DE-700) at the San Francisco Naval Shipyard, California (USA), circa in 1959.
The U.S. Navy destroyer escort USS Manlove (DE-36) fitting out at the San Francisco Naval Shipyard, California (USA), on 7 September 1943. Note that Manlove was launched at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard on 28 July 1943 and them obviously moved to the San Francisco Naval Shipyard at Hunters Point to be fitted out.
The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Gregory (DD-802) off the San Francisco Naval Shipyard, California (USA), on 30 June 1952, following a regular overhaul.
View of north side dock wall showing utility galleries (11-19-85). – Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, Drydock No. 4, San Francisco, San Francisco County, CA
Docking of the USS ENTERPRISE with vessel entering dock (11-28-85). – Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, Drydock No. 4, San Francisco, San Francisco County, CA
View of the forward 5″/38 caliber gun turrets of the U.S. Navy destroyer USS David W. Taylor (DD-551) at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, California (USA), on 23 April 1945.
Amidships view of the Fletcher-class destroyer USS David W. Taylor (DD-551) at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, California (USA), on 23 April 1945.
The U.S. Navy landing craft repair ship USS Atlas (ARL-7) off the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, San Francisco, California (USA), on 27 January 1953, following a regular overhaul.
The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Erben (DD-631) off the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, California (USA), on 10 September 1952, following a regular overhaul.
The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Mullany (DD-528) off the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, San Francisco, California (USA), on 6 January 1945.
The U.S. Navy destroyer escort USS Lamons (DE-743) at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, California (USA), on 21 March 1944. She is painted in Camouflage Measure 32, Design 11D.
The U.S. Navy guided missile cruiser USS Chicago (CG-11) in Berth No. 15 of the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, San Francisco, California (USA), during 1961. The ship was modernized during 1959 to 1964. The stores ship USS Procyon (AF-61) is being recommissioned in the background. The dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD-3) is in the right background.
Aerial view of the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard with Dry Dock No. 4 in the approximate center of photo (1953). The aircraft carrier USS Philippine Sea (CVA-47) is visible in the lower center, USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) is visible in the drydock, undergoing the SCB-27C/125 conversion.
The U.S. Navy guided missile cruiser USS Oklahoma City (CLG-5) in drydock at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, San Francisco, California (USA), on 20 June 1961.
Aerial view of the U.S. Navy Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, San Francisco, California (USA), in 1948. Note the mothballed ships in the foreground, among them three Essex-class aircraft carriers and eight cruisers. Another Essex-class carrier is being refitted.
Hunters Point Naval Shipyard on Google Maps
Know Before You Go To
Hunters Point Naval Shipyard
Know before you go. Before you come and spend time at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard there are tips and advice for exploring abandoned places. We want to ensure that you enjoy your time there.
Know the Dangers When visiting Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, the most obvious hazard is falling through rotten floorboards — but there are often much more sinister invisible dangers.
Wear proper clothing and equipment
If you’re going to be exploring, wear clothes that you wouldn’t mind ruining. Choose your footwear carefully too. Besides a camera and any photography props you might need, you’ll also want to bring a flashlight.
Don’t steal souvenirs from Hunters Point Naval Shipyard
The artifacts left near Hunters Point Naval Shipyard once belonged to somebody, even if they haven’t been there for years. At best, you’re diluting the experience for other urban explorers; at worst, you’re stealing and desecrating a historic site.
Expert on Urban Planning and Abandoned Places
|Mr. Gregory H. is a highly experienced expert on Urban Planning and Abandoned Spaces. Mr. Gregory Hooqe has been focusing on Urban Development and Abandoned Locations since 2000 and has written extensively on the subject.|
He was awarded the 2009 Korea Foundation Professional Award for his research on Asian Abandoned Places, as well as the 2016 Korea Development Institute, Global Ambassador Award.