Stop #7 – USS Constitution

Quick Facts
LocationCharlestown Navy Yard, Charlestown, Massachusetts
📍42°22′20.9″N 71°3′23.6″W
DesignationNational Historical Landmark
EstablishedBuilt 1797
Official Website

The USS Constitution, aka “Old Ironsides”, is the world’s oldest ship, of any kind, still afloat! Launched in 1797, she was one of six original frigate authorized for construction by the Naval Act of 1794 and the third to be constructed. The frigates were to be the capital ships of the young Navy and therefore they are more heavily armed and built than other frigates of the time.

The Constitution was retired from active service in 1881, serving as a receiving ship until being designated a museum ship in 1907.

The USS Constitution is most noted for her actions during the War of 1812 against the United Kingdom, when she captured five British warships and numerous merchant ships. During the War and the battle against the HMS Guerriere is when she earned her nickname “Old Ironsides” and the public adoration that has repeatedly saved her from scrapping.

Old Ironsides circled the world in the 1840’s and served as a training ship for the US Naval Academy during the American Civil War.

The USS Constitution’s mission today is to promote the understanding of the Navy’s role in war and peace through educational outreach, historical demonstration, and active participation in public events as part of the Naval History and Heritage Command. Still a fully commissioned Navy ship, she has a crew of 60 officers and sailors are assigned, the special duty to serve on her and participate in ceremonies, educational programs, and special events, as well as being open to visitors year round and providing free tours.

The USS Constitution can usually be found, berthed, at Pier 1 of the former Charlestown Navy Yard at one end of Boston’s Freedom Trail.

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