State-of-the-art shipyard facilities on this site provided repair and maintenance services from 1854 to about 1950. By 1858, Samuel Hall's East Boston Dry Dock Company included a steam-powered floating dry dock capable of lifting 500-ton ships. Its 600-foot-long marine railway had a cradle with an unprecedented capacity of 1000 tons. Railways with capacities of 1500, 2000, and 2500 tons were built later–all by Crandall Dry Dock Engineers.
In front of you are remnants of the marine railways built in 1890 and 1892. A vessel in need of repair was floated over a timber cradle, which rested on cast-iron rollers on top of the tracks. Once secured, the vessel was hauled up the rails above the tidal zone.
Innovative design and simplicity of operation with minimum manpower contributed to the shipyard's success. Industrial era improvements such as wrought iron chains and steam-powered winches had replaced ropes, men, and horses. Despite economic downturns, a devastating waterfront fire in 1861, and the decline in local shipbuilding, ship repair thrived here and along Marginal Street.