The Washington Navy Yard, authorized by the first Secretary of the Navy, Benjamin Stoddert, in 1799, is the U.S. Navy’s oldest shore establishment. It occupies land set aside by George Washington for use by the Federal Government along the Anacostia River. The original boundaries that were established in 1800, along 9th and M Streets SE, are still marked by a white brick wall, built in 1809, along with a guardhouse.
The Joint Committee on Landmarks has designated the Washington Navy Yard Historic District a Category II Landmark of importance, which contributes significantly to the cultural heritage and visual beauty of the District of Columbia.
The Washington Navy Yard has long served as the ceremonial gateway to the nation’s capital. The first Japanese diplomatic mission was welcomed to the United States in an impressive pageant at the yard in 1860. WWI’s Unknown Soldier’s body was received at the Yard, and Charles A. Lindbergh came to the Yard after his famous transatlantic flight in 1927.
Today, the Washington Navy Yard continues to be the “Quarterdeck of the Navy” and serves as the Headquarters for Naval District Washington, where it houses numerous support activities for the fleet and aviation communities.