Fourteenth in our series to appear on the first Friday of each month: Boston Firsts Fridays. #BostonFirsts
First Realty Management Corp. was founded in Boston over 50 years ago. We are proud to call this wonderful city our home, and call focus to some of the events & innovations that happened FIRST in Boston.
BF#14 One of First Six Commissioned Navy Warships: The USS Constitution (1797)
Two hundred and twenty years ago this March, President George Washington signed the Naval Act of 1794, authorizing the construction and commissioning of six ships that would make up the United States Navy. There had of course been a Continental Navy in the Revolutionary War, but money woes led to its disbanding and the sale of its ships. In the following years, piracy of American merchants illustrated the need for a new naval force.
Six frigates were designed and built:
- United States was built in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and launched on 10 May 1797.
- Constellation was built in Baltimore, Maryland and launched on 7 September 1797.
- Constitution was built in Boston, Massachusetts and launched on 21 October 1797.
- Chesapeake was built in Portsmouth, Virginia and launched on 2 December 1799.
- Congress was built in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and launched on 15 August 1799.
- President was built in New York, New York and launched on 10 April 1800.
While the other 5 ships were broken up, The USS Constitution sails even today and is the oldest commissioned vessel afloat anywhere in the world.
The Constitution was built by naval constructor George Claghorn under the supervision of Captain Samuel Nicholson at Edmund Hartt’s shipyard (the site of the modern-day Coast Guard Station in the North End). She was first tested in the Quasi War with France (1798-1801), and was again victorious in each encounter in the Barbary Wars (1801-1805).
During the War of 1812, she defeated four English warships, earning the nickname “Old Ironsides” in a battle with the HMS Guerriere, which failed to inflict any serious damage against the strong hull of the Constitution.
Today, June 6th, on the 70th anniversary of D-Day, when Allied forces first landed on the coast of Normandy, France to invade German-occupied western Europe, the USS Constitution sailed to Castle Island in Boston Harbor to fire its cannons in salute to Fort Independence, a custom dating back to 1797. And she looked as beautiful as ever…
The Constitution was digitally scanned for use in creating the digital models of the fictional French frigate Acheron for the feature film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003).
Official Military Website: http://www.history.navy.mil/USSconstitution/