C. & O. Railway Company Piers
Newport News Shipbuilding
and Dry Dock Company
Newport News, VA 23607

http://www.nnhs65.com/BILL-LEE/SS-MEDINA.pdf - added 04/06/10

Courtesy of Tim Parsons ('73) of VA - 07/17/04
Thanks, Tim!
Wedgwood Commemorative Plate of Christening of USS Enterprise - 24 Sep 1960

From The Good Old Days in Hampton and Newport News, Parke Rouse, Jr.,
The Dietz Press,
Richmond VA., 1986
Water Front: Coal Piers
to Casino Grounds
Grain Elevator C&O Grain Elevator and Terminal Piers Train Depot Looking North
05/01/03 03/21/06 03/21/06 10/27/06 03/21/06
1905 - C&O Terminal Piers 1906 - Shipyard and Harbor 1907 - C&O Terminal Piers 1908 1908 - Hell's Half Acre
04/11/04 04/12/04 08/29/05 08/22/03 02/09/04
From the Casino 1911 - Dry Docks Launching 1912 - Grain Elevators Coal Piers
11/20/03 12/26/03 12/29/03 12/31/03 07/11/03
1915 - Shipyard  Entrance 1916 - Aerial View Looking North 1918 - New C&O Building 1919 - C&O Grain Elevator 1920s
10/29/03 11/09/07 04/18/04 04/18/04 08/22/03
  1930 1930s 1930s - Coal Piers 1934
Courtesy of Tim Parsons ('73) of VA - 07/17/04
Thanks, Tim!
10/12/03 01/20/04 08/22/03; better image supplied 03/21/06 11/06/03
The other 24 old images are courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA.
Thanks, Dave!

17 Oct 1944 Easter Sunday, April 18, 1954 Pre - 1960 1960
Aerial View Eleanor Buckley ('59) - age 12
Carol Buckley ('65) - age 6
"Shipping scene, Newport News, Va. C. & O. Railway Company piers in foreground, Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. in background." Deep Water Terminals
Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64)
of VA  - 10/29/03
Thanks, Dave!
- Carol Buckley Harty of NC - 05/02/03 - Carol Buckley Harty of NC - 05/02/03 04/18/04


On a positive note, the SS United States has once again been 'rescued' from demolition and plans are
being made to use it as a cruise liner again.  When it was first christened it broke all records for ships of
the day for speed in the Atlantic Crossing.  It's still a magnificent ship, and many people in the class
had parents involved in its construction at the shipyard.  I hope that this latest effort to save the
ship actually takes place.

- Dave Arnold of VA - 05/23/93
Thanks, Dave!


I have seen the piers from this viewpoint a few times, as I used to fly from Patrick Henry Airport to Philadelphia regularly when I worked for Dow-Badische. The old National Airlines flight I caught would fly to Norfolk first, and it would always make a big S-turn from NN to Norfolk, always over the harbor, allowing some great views

Good ol' hindsight: now I wish I had taken a camera on those flights! This photo is from a postcard I recently found on eBay. My guess is this was taken in the late 60's or early 70's, although someone may spot something in the photo that would date it more precisely.

Considering the recent discussion about how some of us used to go down to the waterfront and watch the ships being loaded with coal, here's a view of the C&O coal loading piers probably few of us have seen.

- Ron Miller ('59) of NC - 11/27/07
Thanks, Ron!

1891 - Main Office Building Sunday, November 23, 2003 - Main Office Building
I found in my book cabinet a commemorative book published by the Shipyard.  (Inside) was this photo of the Yard Main Office. Once again, off to the site of the 1891 cameraman, but there
are now structures as well as the Dorothy, Hull #1, preventing
a recreation of the shot. This was the best I could do.
- Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 11/23/03
Thanks, Dave!
- Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 11/23/03
Thanks, Dave!  It's wonderful!

Sunday, November 23, 2003 Sunday, November 23, 2003
A Vivid Reminder

As I was standing on the 200 block of 41st Street taking the image of the Main Office, I looked to the north
and was startled by the vista ..... all the way to the old Riverside Hospital on 50th Street.  Despite the near
total elimination of structures in favor of parking lots, I had to capture this panorama as evidence of what
has happened ... and is happening.  Notice Calvary Baptist steeple on the right; that is 47th Street.

- Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 11/23/03
Thanks, Dave - it's extraordinarily sad, but necessary that we see this.


The First Presbyterian Church on 32nd Street (next to the YMCA)
had a very major role in the early years of Newport News Shipbuilding.
When Collis Huntington of railroad fame, who was a great supporter of the original Homer Ferguson,
the driving force in the shipyard, wanted to locate a shipyard in Newport News
they also wanted to get shipbuilding artisans from Europe.
The Clyde Shipyards in Port Glasgow, Scotland, were going bankrupt
as were many shipyards in Europe in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Accordingly, they recruited skilled artisans from Scotland to come to America,
one of whom was my grandfather, Robert Murray Dick, who was a skilled ship's carpenter.
Many others came with my grandfather and, hence, the need for a Presbyterian Church
since it is basically "The Church of Scotland".
My early family had many great ties to the old locally owned shipyard and,
of course, they were Presbyterians through and through.
Henry Hoyle ('65) and I both grew up in that beautiful old church.
I was both baptized there and joined the church there as a young boy.
I haven't been to town in a while but I hope that beautiful stained glass window is still showing out on 32d Street.
Ah, the memories of what was a wonderful downtown.
The malls just don't do the same thing!
- Jim Dick ('65) of FL - 08/29/04
Thanks, Jimmy!

Collis Potter Huntington, the founder of the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company provided leadership for the workers by developing the slogan which was set in a brass plate and mounted on a huge stone just inside the main gate.
My father worked in the main machine shop in the tool room
when the private locally-owned shipyard was acquired by Tenneco.
He told me one of the first things Tenneco did was to remove the stone holding the plaque of the slogan after they took ownership, stating that Tenneco would always make a profit.
Later, of course, they sold the shipyard back to a private group,
who has since sold it to Northrop Grumman Corporation.
- Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 12/15/04
Thanks, Joe!
Found this today looking thru some old books I have. It's really sad that the city schools lost names with real heritage such as Collis Potter Huntington and Homer L. Ferguson. Huntington built the shipyard and Ferguson saved it. I believe the shipyard creed is
on that plaque in the stone.
- Tim Parsons ('73) of VA - 12/26/04
 WOWZERS! Such a wealth of goodies you have! Thanks, Tim!
I'm glad the names are still preserved elsewhere in Newport News, especially Huntington Avenue.
DOUBLE WOWZERS! What a great old image! Thanks again for more of your magic, Tim!
Yes, this is an excellent shot of the original location of the plaque in its stone setting inside the gates near the main building.

Monday, December 27, 2004 - Newport News, VA
- Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 12/27/04
 OOOOH, David! These are exceptionally beautiful images!!! Thank you so much for shooting them for us!
I can always count on you for amazing quality and excellence!

...The mention of the huge stone in the Shipyard saying,
"We Shall Build Good Ships Here - At A Profit - If We Can - At A Loss - If We Must - But Always Good Ships." 
was, as mentioned, removed from the Shipyard when Tenneco bought the company....it was sent to the
Mariners' Museum......
It came back some years later and is available for anyone to see on 41st Street, next
to the DOROTHY, the Tugboat build by N.N. Shipbuilding as their first ship.  This is all across the street from the
main office building, which is on
Washington Avenue

Things are so different since Northrop Grumman purchased the Shipyard.... When Tenneco owned us, we were still N.N. Shipbuilding, a Tenneco Company..... the name stayed on the huge Cranes.... Now, Newport News is completely gone...
over 100 years as Newport News Shipbuilding....now, it is Northrop Grumman.  They own us, we do not own them. Of course,
this is true.  I have been working here almost 40 continuous years... It will be so August 23, 2005.....

-  Fred Mays ('60) of VA - 01/07/04
WOW.....  Thanks, Fred!


USS Reagan

I may have sent this to you before ??? Built at Newport News Shipbuilding.
Worth another look .....


- Herb Hice of MI - 08/31/05
Worth another look??  It's worth its own page!  Thanks so much, Herbie!


They dared to dream: Collis P. Huntington: Shipyard's founder

The yard's father was first a traveling peddler then a '49er and aggressive railroad tycoon.

August 13, 2006

NEWPORT NEWS -- From his California Gold Rush days to his mistress from Richmond, Collis P. Huntington led an unusual life, one with far more color than the smooth gray paint that's coated many of his shipyard's vessels.

Huntington is famous for establishing the Newport News shipyard, which employs 19,000-plus workers on projects like the carrier George H.W. Bush. The city grew around the yard and wouldn't be what it is without this 19th-century railroad mogul.

But the yard was an afterthought. Huntington secured a charter for it in 1886 - at 65, near the end of his life. He often visited but never lived in Newport News, instead spending most of his life in New York and California, after growing up in the backwoods of Connecticut.

Huntington liked to pay a backhanded compliment to his upbringing in Harwinton, Conn., close to a valley called "Poverty Hollow." He said it gave him the advantage of going straight to work, "for I had not a liberal education and I had no money," according to "Newport News Shipbuilding: The First Century" by William L. Tazewell.

While still in his teens during the 1830s, Huntington set about making money as a traveling peddler with a wagon full of clocks, silverware and other portable items. Peddlers like Huntington were "sharp-dealing, suspiciously regarded but essential cogs in the rural economy of pre-Civil War America," says David Lavender in his Huntington biography, "The Great Persuader."

After an older brother started a store in Oneonta, N.Y., Huntington stopped his ramblings, arranged for a stake in the store and got married. But the man once described as "a personality full of force" - as well as "six feet one and of full weight" - didn't stay put for long. In 1849, he joined tens of thousands of treasure hunters in California, all drawn there by the recent discovery of gold near Sacramento.

Huntington went west not as a prospector but as a trader, according to Lavender. He set up a store in Sacramento but was often in San Francisco, at times intercepting incoming ships in his small sailboat and striking deals on goods before the ships reached his competitors on shore.

As he grew prosperous in Sacramento, he met three men who would work with him in building the western part of the transcontinental railroad in the 1860s.

Huntington, Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker and Mark Hopkins became known as "The Big Four."

Before the project increased in scope, the group's initial goal was just to make money by building a 115-mile line from Sacramento to the state border. Huntington is sometimes called the driving force of this often-ruthless partnership, with the frontman being Stanford, the California governor and university founder.

Newport News, home to fewer than 1,000 residents, got Huntington's attention as he looked for an eastern terminus for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad in the 1870s. But as "Newport News: A Centennial History" puts it, "There was another reason why Huntington was drawn to Virginia, and her name was Arabella Duval Yarrington." She was a Richmond native, became his mistress, bore him a son and eventually married him after his first wife's death.

Huntington established the Newport News shipyard, now owned by Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman, after realizing that ships often needed repairs when they reached the C&O's eastern terminus. Nonetheless, the yard lost money throughout Huntington's life, and he almost sold it. It opened in 1889, with its founder making one of his visits to Newport News for the opening ceremony, bringing with him other VIPs such as poet Walt Whitman.

In addition to his connection to Whitman, Huntington had ties to other colorful characters. His adopted daughter married a German prince. Huntington also sold a now-demolished house in New York City to the Rockefeller family, famed in this area for financing Colonial Williamsburg. The New York property is part of the Museum of Modern Art's site today.

Huntington is linked to 17th-century American history through ancestors who arrived as colonists in the 1630s, as well as to 18th-century history through his relative Gov. Samuel Huntington of Connecticut, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The railroad mogul himself, who died in 1900, came to define a significant part of 19th-century history.

"Hard-tempered first by the poverty of his youth and then by the gold-rush crucible of California, he returned roughshod to the East," Lavender says, "took the burgeoning laissez-faire spirit of industrial America as he found it, and bent it to his purposes."

- Extracted and Preserved for us by Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 08/17/06
 Thanks so much, Dave!

Wonder if anyone has photos of the old C&O Coal Terminals? I remember as a kid traveling over a short one lane wooden bridge that headed towards them somewhere around the pier train station. Once there you could see a special rig that took in a railroad train hopper car which would roll it over, upside down to empty it onto a conveyor belt. That in turn took the coal up to a tower with shoots that loaded it onto ships. Those black towers were a haunting sight, like aliens from "War of the Worlds" or giant insects and could see them for miles. I use to have photos of them during the days when you could drive up to piers with no security risk but since lost. Would like to see them again! I wonder what happened to that unique specially made setup?

 - Eric Huffstutler (Bethel HS - '75) of VA - 03/01/06 (but inexplicably not published until 03/20/06...)

Eric, I don't remember the wooden bridge (proving nothing, of course), but I do remember my daddy was particularly fascinated by that coal dumping rig.  Whenever we had a spare moment which didn't involve Buckroe Beach Amusement Park, the Mariners' Museum, or the War Memorial Museum, chances were excellent that we'd all drive over to watch this hypnotic maneuvering.  I'm fully convinced my daddy could have watched this happily for hours at a time, just as he could watch the ships pass at Buckroe Beach.  We may not have parked there for over 45 minutes at a time, but it always seemed longer to me as a little girl.  I certainly didn't mind, though.  As long as we were all out doing something together, I was thrilled.  In fact, we even went there to take our Easter pictures in 1954, which even as a six-year old, I thought was a very bizarre backdrop.

Thanks, Eric!

Here are some shots of the coal loading pier and vicinity. I, too, remember the road over the wooden bridge
which permitted you to go down to the piers. Some of that road may be visible in one or more of these images.
- Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 03/21/06

Thanks, Dave, and especially for the new images!

Hi, Carol:

I enjoyed reading the memories of Eric Huffstutler (Bethel HS - '75) of VA with respect to the C & O Terminal and Coal Handling Facility, and especially his recollection of the wooden bridge leading to the C & O Building and Piers. In fact, I checked the website to revisit the photos posted, and comments about this focal point that was so important to driving the economy of the Peninsula. It was always fun to visit the piers.

I searched for a comment or two that I had sent you earlier about the wooden bridge. Maybe I only thought I had sent it
to you, as I did not find any reference to the bridge on the page. Although I'm usually the guilty party here due my my nasty
procrastinations, Joe, this time I think I might actually be innocent. I recall your speaking of Eva's grandfather before,
but I really do not recall any discussion of a wooden bridge. Once again, however, this proves absolutely nothing.
Ask me about Thanksgiving of 1949. Now, that I remember!

That bridge was built in 1918 by the grandfather of Eva Ellis Madagan ('61) of FL. His name was Carl Floyd and he continued
in the construction business until the mid-1960's. The C & O Bridge as we commonly called it was built to permit access
to the C & O Building that was completed in 1918. The wooden bridge allowed traffic from West Avenue to enter the parking
lot of the C & O Building, and also to access the piers from a rather steep roadway on the south side of the building.
The wooden bridge construction was one of the first projects undertaken by Mr. Floyd when he started his business upon returning from Europe at the end of World War I. He suffered from chlorine gas exposure from the trenches in Flanders. The bridge was sturdy and rugged, and crossed the passenger train track that terminated on a pier adjacent to the passenger station and the steam boat pier. That old wooden bridge was replaced with a newer one in the late 1960's.
The old bridge was neat, as it sort of rumbled under the tires of my bicycle when I rushed to deliver Western Union Telegrams
to the C & O Building regarding the impending arrival of ocean going vessels as a young TYPHOON.
- Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 03/21/06

WOWZERS!!!  Thanks, Joe!

Hello Carol,        Tue. Mar. 21, 06

Eric Huffstutler
 (Bethel HS - '75) of VA asked about a wooden bridge access to the C&O area. 

That bridge was built early in WW-II.  I remember it from my summer job at the Army's Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation (HRPE) in 1943.  It was placed at a short extension of the south end of West Avenue going just beyond 23rd Street.  The road continued  south of the bridge then made a quick turn and ended at River Road.

Of all the C&O piers, the shortest one was at the end of the passenger train track.  The only purpose of that pier was to berth the NN-to-Norfolk steamer Virginia, so it was not a long pier.  An arriving passenger train would back onto the pier so that passengers to and from the Virginia would have a short walk.  That position was also convenient for passengers who had been in the waiting room of the old Victorian style station.  This was all determined in the 19th century master plan when the C&O was built.

During the war the passenger traffic greatly increased and so the trains got longer.  So much so that when parked at the station, they would extend far across River Road.  This of course blocked all the street traffic into and out of the Port area.  As a hasty remedy, the Army built the wooden bridge.

The wooden bridge was only long enough to cross the single passenger train track.  The freight train tracks arrived further south.  I don't think pedestrians were allowed to use the wooden bridge.  I remember coming back from lunch and having to stand in line to climb through a passenger car to get back to my messenger job.

HRPE supplied a great many jobs for NN residents.  The pay was very good. I was paid more as a 15 year old messenger than I would make at my next two summer jobs at the Shipyard.  At that time there was a state law which prohibited youths under 16 from being hired in industrial jobs without a special work permit.  HRPE workers were U.S. Government employees and so the state law did not apply.
- Fred Field ('45) of CA - 03/21/06

Thanks, Fred! 
Your account differs somewhat from Joe's, both as to the date and the builder, but I'll let y'all figure that one out yourselves.

Carol -
My father and I used to go watch coal being dumped. I was fascinated with the coal car being turned upside down. 
We had to roll up the windows to keep the coal dust out. 
- Barbara Houston ('68) of Northern VA - 03/21/06

Thanks, Barbara! Your memory mirrors my own.
Did you notice what happened here? We received finely detailed, erudite background information from four brilliant gentlemen - and warm fuzzies from two little girls' treasured memories of special moments with their daddies. I love it!

Hi, Carol:
May I suggest that  Fred Fields ('45 - of CA) and I each provided a couple of pieces to a puzzle with respect to the Wooden Bridge over the passenger track at the terminus of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad line in Newport News. Since it was a wooden bridge and had a lot of traffic, I am sure it was replaced one or more times long before the time I remember the work in the late 1960's. Mr. Carl Floyd was grateful that he secured the job as he was just starting his construction business when he won that contract to build the wooden bridge, and he was very proud of his work.
We appreciate being given an opportunity to recall a bit of history of the Peninsula while we were TYPHOON.
- Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 03/22/06

Thank you, Joe!

I had to write about the coal piers, too. My dad, Al Clendenin, was a Customs Inspector who spent many hours boarding
those ships at the coal piers. Our Sunday drives usually ended down there, watching the coal cars turn upside down
and dump their contents. My brother and I thought it was so cool! Just like you, I thought my dad was the most wonderful
man on earth. One of my proudest days was when he took my whole fifth grade class from Deer Park Elementary School
down to the piers to tour and board a ship. He worked with other Customs Inspectors whose sons went to NNHS -
Clyde Point ('64), Joe ('63) and Bobby ('64) Wright, Rollie Hamel ('66).
When he retired, he was the Port Director.
- Melody Clendenin DeBerry (WHS - '66) of VA - 03/22/06

COOL!  Thanks, Melody!

I have worked on the docks since 1964. I was very good  friends with Al Clendenin and his wife. We boarded many a ship together. I started as a boarding agent with Lavino Shipping Company, after which I went into the union as a clerk with the longshoreman. I have been the President of Local 862 clerks and checkers for the past 25 years and still going strong. I had the pleasure of working along side Fred Anspach (NNHS - '64), Melvin Renn (Warwick) and Randy Tosh (NNHS - '63). Any information needed about waterfront anyone needs, just let me know.
- Gary Fitzgerald ('61) of VA - 03/24/06

WOWZERS!!!  Thanks, Gary!

I was born in 1942 when my parents lived in a new house on Briarfield Road (Betsy Lee Gardens)....I understand that there was a bridge that connected to 50th Street, from Jefferson Avenue....it was wooden, so I am told and it came out where Coates and Clark once stood. An uncle of mine lived with us briefly and he walked across this bridge daily to the Shipyard....

- Fred Mays ('60) of VA - 03/25/06

Thanks, Fred!

Does anyone remember the C&O railroad "company" store? It's where I got my first pair of cowboy boots and a harmonica. Those were root'n toot'n days! I still remember the smell, real leather -everything. There was also something about a cardboard clock with a movable mouth and a great face you got with your shoes. Buster Brown? My dad worked for the railroad for about thirty years. He worked at the 58th Street hump. He tagged cars. He said it never snowed at the railroad. It took me thirty years to figure out he meant because as a six year old kid I remember seeing snow come in on those coal cars. The things we remember......imagine.
- Linda May Bond Crayton ('66) of VA - 03/26/06

Thanks, Linda May!

Carol, I really have enjoyed reading all the accounts of the C&O and the coal piers. My dad would fill a cooler with ice cold lemonade and Mama would make sandwiches and we'd sit up there at the highest point on hot summer nights (no AC back then) and watch the activity down at the coal piers. We would sit out on a blanket under the stars and enjoy God's work while watching man's.

My dad, Cookie's and Charlie's dad, and another uncle and aunt all put 30-40 years in at the C&O. They have all passed away now, but every time I cross the M&M Tunnel heading back into NN, I think of all the good times growing up. Linda May mentioned the C&O Commissary or "company store" this week. We were there every Saturday morning shopping. What memories!

My uncle Zack Phillips and his wife, Charlotte, both had the following song performed at their funerals. It brings a tear to my eye every time I hear it. I was so excited when someone sent this to me last year. The song is different from the piece that is written and illustrated. I suggest reading first, then sit back and listen to the words. I hope you can share it with all those "special" Typhoons who were C&O children and dedicate it to Myra Phillips Day.

Life's Railway to Heaven, performed by Patsy Cline and Willie Nelson:


Thanks! God bless you all!

- Judy Phillips Allen ('66) of VA - 03/28/06

WOWZERS!  Thanks, Judy!


Delighted that you saw fit to recently mention my story about NNHS grad Pam Cole in your latest offering. I'm not sure why you can't
use it all directly (that's why I sent it in PDF format), but here's a suggestion:

This story has been posted on the Apprentice Alumni Association's web site, along with several others I have written in the last few years.
If you just refer people to the following, they can see this story in its illustrated entirety, and lots more, if they like. Undoubtedly, I have mentioned many NNHS grads and probably a lot of fathers and grandfathers of NNHS grads, as well, in those stories.


- Bill Lee (Warwick HS - '54) of NC - 10/02/07

AHA!!! That I can do! Thanks, Bill!


Attached are 3 shipyard images I came across.
Attribution for all 3 is:  http://www.destroyerhistory.org/destroyers/newportnews.html

- Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 10/12/07
WOWZERONI-RINI!!! These are sooo spectacular! Thank you so much, Captain!

Perhaps this will stimulate some discussion among the more senior alumni.
If you look closely at this image, in the upper left corner you
will see the very familiar water tower.  But, look to the right
of the tower. Is that not a bridge over the RR tracks? 
By my calculations, it is at 58th Street.
The same area today almost suggests that a bridge stood there.

Does anybody have a recollection of a bridge at that location?
Why and when was it removed?

- Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 10/18/07
Thanks, Dave! I'd ask you how on earth it is that you came to spot a teeny-tiny bridge in this huge image, and then were
able to pinpoint its location, and then find a corresponding present-day map, and THEN spot clear evidence
that, yes, indeed, there once was a bridge there, but I already know the answer to that riddle. You're magic!

"Anyone? Anyone?"

...During the depression the shipyard was one of the few employers who didn't lay off their employees.  They reduced the number of shift hours, so each of their employees had some money coming in.  With the onset of WWII work exploded at the shipyard.  A lot of men and women came to Newport News from North Carolina and West Virginia because of the work.  When they first arrived there was very little housing.  (My husband) Dick (Krause - '56 / '57)
(05 Feb 1939 - 27 Dec 1999) told me that the the widows in the big houses near the shipyard began renting out rooms - plus feeding the workers a hot lunch for a small amount of money.  He told me that as the work load increased at the yard, and more workers arrived, they were sharing beds at the boarding houses.  They called them 'hot beds' because as one worker got up to report for his 12 hour shift, another fellow was getting off work and headed straight to sleep in the same bed...
- Joan Lauterbach Krause ('60) of VA - 07/17/09

Thank you so much, Joan!

In your most recent newsletter (7/18), Joan Lauterbach Krause ('60 - of VA) talked a bit about stoic shipbuilders during the depression. She said, amongst other interesting things:

"During the depression the shipyard was one of the few employers who didn't lay off their employees.  They reduced the number of shift hours, so each of their employees had some money coming in."

I'd like to add some numerical information to further highlight the conditions at NNS during the height of the Great Depression, and include a related, heart-warming short story:

Around the beginning of 1931, the yard cut everyone's pay by ten percent. A few months later, another ten percent cut had to be made. In addition, craftsmen working on naval vessels in that time period were limited to 4 days-32 hours a week.    

In the late 1920s/early 1930s, the Foreman of the NNS Boiler Shop was Robert Carter (whom everyone called Captain Bob). He had several children, including Hubert. Following is an excerpt that I wrote a few years ago about the Carter family:

After attending Walter Reed Grammar School, Hubert went to Newport News High School, where he played football in his senior year. He graduated in February 1934, in the middle of the nation’s painful recovery from The Great Depression.


Nevertheless, his Father managed to get him a low-paying job as an inexperienced helper in the shipyard’s boiler shop. However, it wasn’t too long after that when Captain Bob was forced to make some personnel cutbacks in his department. He told Hubert to go home. When his son protested, saying that his Dad could lay off someone making more money (and everyone, just about, made more money than an unskilled helper), his Father replied: “Boy, go home. I can take care of you. I won’t lay off a man that has a family.”


That story was related to me by Hubert's son, Bond Carter, who took me to see his Dad (Bond had worked for me at NNS in the early 1970s). I completed and presented a story entitled A Family of Shipbuilders to the Carter clan about a year before Hubert passed away. 

- Bill Lee (Warwick HS - '54) of NC - 07/19/09

Thank you, Bill, that is a moving account!


... The story (attached) is more about about his father and grandfather, and their many years of service at Newport News Shipbuilding. Since several family members were Apprentice Alumni, I created this story for their web site.

Bond once worked for me, but was called "Stump" by everyone - see page 12 of the attached for the 'deviation' of that nickname, and, on page 13, a picture of him and Barbara when we spent a delightful afternoon at his parent's home. 

Since I created this story, Bond's Father passed away, but he did get to read it. I was fortunate to meet him in 2006, get a first-hand account of his shipbuilding career and borrow a number of the illustrations contained in the story about this family of shipbuilders.


- Bill Lee (Warwick HS - '54) of NC - 07/30/09

Thank you so much, Bill!

Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay

- written by Otis Redding and Steve Cropper
- lyrics as recorded by Otis Redding December 7, 1967, just three
days before his death in a plane crash outside Madison, Wisconsin
- #1 for 4 weeks in 1968

Sittin' in the mornin' sun
I'll be sittin' when the evenin' come
Watching the ships roll in
And then I watch 'em roll away again, yeah

I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll away
Ooo, I'm just sittin' on the dock of the bay
Wastin' time

I left my home in Georgia
Headed for the 'Frisco bay
'Cause I've had nothing to live for
And look like nothin's gonna come my way

So I'm just gonna sit on the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll away
Ooo, I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay
Wastin' time

Look like nothing's gonna change
Everything still remains the same
I can't do what ten people tell me to do
So I guess I'll remain the same, yes

Sittin' here resting my bones
And this loneliness won't leave me alone
It's two thousand miles I roamed
Just to make this dock my home

Now, I'm just gonna sit at the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll away
Oooo-wee, sittin' on the dock of the bay
Wastin' time


"Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" midi courtesy of http://www.wtv-zone.com/wordtiller/midi/dockbay.mid,
at the suggestion of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 07/06/03
Thanks, Dave!

"Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" lyrics courtesy of http://www.lyricsdepot.com/otis-redding/sitting-on-the-dock-of-the-bay.html,
also at the suggestion of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 07/06/03
Thanks again, Dave!

 Animated Train clip art courtesy of http://www.gottrains.com/traingifs.htm - 05/03/03

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