Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Naval Industrial Reserve Shipyard, Alameda
(Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Center, Alameda)
The Patrol Frigate USS Poctello being outfitted at General Engineering and Dry Dock Company, Alameda, California, 15 March 1944
US Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District History (2005)

With the start of World War II, the U.S. Navy began a crash program to expand the fleet with both warships and support vessels. The U.S. Navy conducted two separate shipbuilding and repair sites that eventually became the Naval Industrial Reserve Shipyard (NIRS) Alameda.

The first was an existing commercial shipyard owned and operated by the General Engineering and Dry Dock Company. This company built small warships for the U.S. Navy under Contract NObs-344. The yard had four shipbuilding ways that allowed for the simultaneous construction of a like number of ships. There were seven additional piers that allowed for ships that were built at the Site or other shipyards to be fitted out or repaired.

In order to affect repairs to ships, this portion of the Site had two marine railways that had the ability to pull small ships out of the water on a wheeled cradle. In addition to these railways, a large floating dry dock was on site. This vessel was sold to Todd Shipyard Corporation on 26 July 1962 and moved to another facility.

By the end of World War II, General Engineering and Dry Dock Company built 16 1,250-ton minesweepers, 11 850-ton minesweepers, and four 560-ton anti-submarine net layers at the Site (www.coltoncompany.com). The U.S. Navy terminated its contract with the company in 1946.

The second portion of the Site was to the east of the General Engineering and Dry Dock Company. It was acquired by the U.S. Navy by condemnation and direct purchase from 24 March to 7 July 1942. Unlike the portion of the Site documented above, this area was owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by the Pacific Bridge Company as a contractor.

During World War II, the Pacific Bridge Company built nine N3-S-A1 cargo ships for the British Merchant Navy and 32 Auxiliary Repair Dry Docks (ARD) for the U.S. Navy. ARDs were self-propelled, ocean going ships that could follow the fleet and operate in areas in which a proper shipyard was not available. Several of the ARDs are still in service with many foreign navies with two remaining active U.S. Navy and Coast Guard service (www.coltoncompany.com).

Following World War II, repair activities continued at both sites. On 27 June 1950, the U.S. Navy acquired by deed and lease the site previously occupied by the General Engineering and Dry Dock Company. With the acquisition completed, it appears that the Site was then commissioned as Naval Industrial Reserve Shipyard (NIRS) Alameda.

From 15 March 1952 until 14 March 1962 the U.S. Navy leased a large portion of the Site to the Moore Dry Dock Company of Oakland, California who continued to operate the Site as a maritime repair facility. From 1 December 1955 until 30 November 1958, the U.S. Navy leased a portion of the former Pacific Bridge Company's site as a lumber storage yard.

In 1949, the Department of the Navy established a Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Center on that portion of the former Pacific Bridge Company site. The Site had several training buildings that provided training on ship systems.

In 1967, the U.S. Navy completed the construction of a new Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Center on the site of the former Pacific Bridge Company area. This resulted in closing of the original reserve center and its transfer by GSA to DHEW for disposal.

Between 1962 and 1969, the U.S. Navy disposed of all property comprising former NIRS Alameda. This was done through termination of leases and the sale of parcels of surplus fee-owned land. The Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Center remains an active U.S. Navy installation.

The Site continued to be used as a municipal marina, commercial shipyard and ship maintenance facilities, as well as industrial, storage, and office buildings. A portion was conveyed to the Alameda Unified School District and developed into Franklin Field, the track and football field for Alameda High School.



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Updated 8 February 2016