Dry Dock 1 in the Charlestown Navy Yard, where USS Constitution currently sits undergoing repairs, was considered an engineering marvel when it opened in 1833. Designed and constructed by Loammi Baldwin, Jr., the dock was officially named an Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1977 by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Forty-three years after it first opened, in 1876, a journalist named Samuel Adams Drake captured the dock’s magnitude:

We can compare the granite basin, fashioned to receive the great war-ships, to nothing else than a huge bath wherein some antique giant might disport himself. It seems a miracle of intelligence, skill, and perseverance.

Here is a sight not commonly seen — USS Constitution viewed from the floor of Dry Dock 1.

View of USS Constitution from within Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
View of USS Constitution‘s stern from within Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
View of USS Constitution from within Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
View of USS Constitution‘s keel, supported by keel blocks, in Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
View of USS Constitution from within Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
The underside of USS Constitution viewed from within Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
View of USS Constitution from within Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
The underside of USS Constitution viewed from the floor of  Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
View of USS Constitution from within Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
View of USS Constitution‘s bow from within Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
View of USS Constitution from within Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
View of USS Constitution‘s bow from within Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
View of USS Constitution from within Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
USS Constitution, supported by keel blocks, haul blocks, and wale shores, in Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. The caisson is visible in the background. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
View of USS Constitution from within Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
View of USS Constitution and the USS Constitution Museum from within Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
View of USS Constitution from within Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
View of USS Constitution from within Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
View of USS Constitution from within Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
USS Constitution, supported by wale shores, in Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. The caisson is visible in the background. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
View of USS Constitution from within Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
View of USS Constitution‘s bow from within Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
View of USS Constitution from within Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
View of USS Constitution from within Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
View of USS Constitution from within Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
USS Constitution rests on keel blocks inside Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
View of USS Constitution from within Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
Looking up at USS Constitution from the floor of Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
View of USS Constitution from within Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
View of the caisson from below USS Constitution in Dry Dock 1, May 29, 2015. On the other side of the caisson is Boston Harbor. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
Learn more about Dry Dock 1 and USS Constitution’s restoration in Making Old Ironsides New, an exhibit currently on view at the USS Constitution Museum.

– K. Monea

The Author(s)

USS Constitution Museum
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