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Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard

Unfinished History

March 11 1942 aerial of HP Naval drydocks AAB-8939.jpg

BEGINNING OF HUNTERS POINT YARD'S GROWTH--Three months after Pearl harbor the narrow tongue of land projecting into San Francisco bay looked like this, with only one permanent building (at right) and two graving docks in existence. The high promontory, Point Avisadero (left), was pulled down into the bay to make San Francisco Naval Shipyard the huge installation it is today.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library

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Hunter's Point in 1941, Avisadero Point at top left of photo before its demolition.

Photo: US Navy

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Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard from the air, June 2006.

Photo: Telstar Logistics who has an incredible slideshow up on Flickr of "Modern Miltary Ruins of San Francisco"

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This crane was used to lift massively heavy ships and shipboard equipment, but was also used to launch Polaris missile tests, as seen below in 1959. Easily visible as you drive from San Francisco International Airport to downtown San Francisco, this crane was built in 1947. A news clipping written at the time describes its intended purpose:

"WORLD'S LARGEST overhead traveling crane, capable of lifting battleship gun turrets and other huge sections weighing as much as a million pounds, is shown being erected by U. S. Steel's American Bridge Company in the San Francisco Naval Shipyard at Hunter's Point, California. Completion of the giant lift will make Uncle Sam fastest on the draw among the nations in the replacing of battleship guns. These large caliber weapons wear down their rifling in a comparatively few rounds. Then the guns and their turrets are exchanged for new ones or for those which have been reconditioned. Swifter repair service for fighting ships also will be made possible by the twin cranes that will operate singly or in tandem atop a bridge type runway 207 feet high. The 730-foot runway spans a pier 405 feet wide, extending 162 1/2 feet over the water on each side. Total of 8,400 tons of steel went into the runway structure and cranes."

Photo: Chris Carlsson

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The caption reads: OPERATION SKYCATCH--This sequence shows how a huge overhead assembly at the San Francisco Naval Shipyard catches a multi-ton dummy Polaris missile in mid-air and keeps it from free-flight. Left to right: Powerful blast sends missile skyward. At top of its trajectory, it is snubbed by modified arresting gear engine. Then the dummy Polaris is lowered for examination removal of instrumentation, and preparation for next test. In earlier testings the missile was hurled out into San Francisco bay and then retrieved. Lockheed Missiles and Space Division, who released these pictures, said this new method permits accurate study on dummy missiles which are structurally identical in live Polaris missiles."

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library, hat-tip to Telstar Logistics

HP-building-due-west-4430.jpg

From Telstar:

The following information about Building 253 is taken from the "Hunters Point Shipyard Historical Radiological Assessment," a 2005 US Navy report that provides an inventory of impacted/contaminated buildings at the former San Francisco Naval Shipyard.

Bldg 253 2002 exterior 2265174 87fc19c353 o.jpg
Site Description: Building 253 is a six-story concrete-framed, glass curtain-walled building built between 1944 and 1947. The building has a large gantry for the craning of equipment to the upper stories and a periscope tower extending vertically from the roof. Building 253 is attached to Building 211 The glazing for Building 253 is standard glass.

Former Uses: Radiography Instrument Calibration through; Gauge Shop; Electronics, Optical, and Ordnance Shops; Weapons Shop; Electrical Shop; Equipment from OPERATION CROSSROADS Ships; Maritime Administration Ship Parts Storage (1994); and Probable Location of Radium Paint Activities (Gauge Shop).

Bldg 253 1949 hoising periscope 2265066 b32db54bd1 o.jpg

The caption on this photo reads: "EXTERIOR OF ORDINANCE AND OPTICAL SHOP, HUNTERS POINT--'One of the most beautifully detailed industrial buildings...'". Printed on back: "A periscope (inside the wooden case) being lifted up to the sixth floor Optical Shop for repair and calibration. How does all that glass get cleaned? Look closely near the corner and you will see an electrically operated two-man carrier suspended from the monorail above."

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library, hat-tip to Telstar Logistics

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Hunter's Point Building 253, 1948, Periscope workshop.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library, hat-tip to Telstar Logistics

Bldg 253 6th floor periscope workshop 2002 2265031 2fc65dbea8 o.jpg
Original caption on back: "View of the Sixth Floor Optical Shop where rangefinders from naval ships are overhauled and repaired. At the other end periscopes are stacked before or after being suspended up in the tower where they are checked by sighting on known points in the bay.".

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Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard, Drydock 4, 1952

Drydock 4 2002
Original caption on back: "THE CARRIER U.S.S. Boxer looms impressively in the background here as William Pengra (right) of the San Francisco Naval Shipyard points out sights to be seen by approximately 125 visiting businessmen from 14 coastal counties of Northern California here for a look-see at this city's facilities. Taking a 'preview' tour of the naval shipyard with Mr. Pengra are Frank Dana (left), chairman of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce inter-city committee in charge of the 'Coastal Days in San Francisco' event which is bringing the visiting businessmen, and R.G. Holabird (center) chairman of the two-day program."

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library, hat-tip to Telstar Logistics

South-view-of-HP-buildings-4407.jpg

View south from a ship on the bay, 2010, at the abandoned Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard buildings, soon to be demolished.

Photo: Chris Carlsson

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Entering the old 1860s graving docks, 2010.

Photo: Chris Carlsson

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The stone graving dock was completed at Hunter's Point in 1868... This photograph shows the Pacific Mail Steamship Company's coastwise steamer Montana in the dock about 1870. The paddle wheels of this wooden steamer were 43 feet in diameter.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library

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Inside the graving dock, 2010.

Photo: Chris Carlsson

HP-graving-docks-1920s-or-earlier.jpg

The graving docks at Hunter's Point, 19th century.

Photo: Shaping San Francisco

Destroyer-in-graving-dock-at-HP-1904.jpg

Destroyer getting serviced in graving dock at Hunter's Point, 1904.

Photo: Private collection

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Hunter's Point Shipyard, c. 1900.

Photo: Western Neighborhoods Project/OpenSFHistory.org

Inside-drydock-red-brick-bldg-4468.jpg

Inside the graving dock, 2010.

Photo: Chris Carlsson

HPNS9073.jpg

View of HP graving docks, late 1930s, looking east.

Photo: Private collection

HPN8918.jpg

Ship under repair in graving dock, early 20th century.

Photo: Private collection

HPNS8913.jpg

1901 repair of St. China in graving dock.

Photo: Private collection

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Dead typewriters in cryptography lab, 2002. All the light in this usually pitch dark room is provided by the camera flash.

Photo: Telstar Logistics

Grandpa leo work ID.jpg.JPG

My Grandfather's Hunters Point Naval Shipyard work ID (left) Shop 56 Pipefitter Repairs, installs, and tests shipboard piping, refrigeration, and air-conditioning systems and components; and installs pipecovering and insulation.

Photo: Oldiesking58

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My Grandfather Leo Valdez's ID card from Hunters Point Naval Shipyard.

Photo: Oldiesking58

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