Tour #2 - Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, NH

Tour #2 – Friday, April 25, 2014

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, NH


Arrive at St. Raphael Church Parking Lot No later Than 9:00 AM

Please NOTE:   This is a local trip where you provide the transportation.  For this outing, you may wish to carpool for the companionship and to save on gasoline.  A Navy bus will pick us up at St. Raphael Church parking lot to take us into the Shipyard.  St. Raphael Church is located at 6 Whipple Road, Kittery, ME.   From the Portsmouth traffic circle, take US -1 By Pass North (crossing into Maine).  Once in Maine turn right onto Rte. 103 (Bridge Street).  Follow Rte.103 until you reach 6 Whipple Road, which is St. Raphael Church.

A Navy bus will take us to the auditorium for a presentation called, “Portsmouth Naval Shipyard from the Periscope,” given by a retired submariner himself, Gary Hildreth.  Gary is a gifted speaker who is now the Public Affairs Officer of the Shipyard.  Through him, the “Yard’s” history and folklore will come alive and promises to be entertaining.  Afterwards, we will join Shipyard employees for a lunch in the Shipyard Tavern, cafeteria style. (LUNCH ON YOUR OWN)

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard was established in 1800 during President John Adams administration.  It is the oldest continuously operating shipyard in the U.S. Navy.  It is situated on a cluster of conjoined islands called Seavey’s Island in the Piscataqua River, whose swift current prevents ice from blocking navigation to the Atlantic Ocean.  Perhaps the most famous ship ever overhauled there was the USS Constitution which we are visiting in May!!!  We will drive and stop by what was once the Portsmouth Naval Prison, dubbed “the Castle” because of its resemblance to a crenellated castle.  The prison housed many German U-Boat crews after capture and Navy and Marine Corps prisoners until it closed in 1974.  During WWI, the shipyard began constructing submarines and became the Navy’s center for submarine design and development.  Today the shipyard provides overhaul, refueling and modernization work.  All of its submarine work is classified.

After lunch we will embark on our tour of the perimeter of the Yard with a SPECIAL STOP AT THE TREATY ROOM where the Treaty of Portsmouth was signed between Japan and Russia in 1905.  The tour will end with time at the Shipyard’s museum.  The museum offers a unique perspective on U.S. history, from Colonial to Civil War time and beyond.  Here we will see beautiful ship models, uniforms, military artifacts and exhibits portraying life in 18th, 19th and 20th century Portsmouth.  There is also a gift shop where books and memorabilia may be purchased.

Handicap Accessibility –VERY LIMITED – PLEASE NOTE: If handicapped and really want to go, call Gayle Hylen, Tour Director, to discuss possible options.

The cost is $10.00 per person which includes donation to Portsmouth Naval shipyard Museum and St. Raphael Church. (Naval Personnel cannot accept gratuities.) LUNCH ON YOUR OWN. ($6-12)

Approximate time of return to St. Raphael Church parking lot: 2:30 PM