Knowledge Base: Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation

Image:DEs under construction.jpg
HMS Calder (K349) under construction as USS Formoe (DE-58), with USS Foss (DE-59) on the right at the Hingham shipyard.

Bethlehem Steel Corporation Shipbuilding Division was created in 1905 when Bethlehem Steel Corporation acquired the San Francisco shipyard Union Iron Works in 1905. In 1917 it was incorporated as Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, Limited; otherwise known as BethShip.[citation needed]

Headquarters were in Quincy, Massachusetts after acquiring Fore River Shipyard in 1913 and later in Sparrows Point, Maryland in 1964.

In 1940, it was number 1 of the Big 3 U.S. shipbuilders who could build any ship. Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock and New York Shipbuilding Corporation (New York Ship) were #2 and #3. Bethlehem had 4 yards in early 1940: Fore River, Sparrows Point, San Francisco, and Staten Island. Bethlehem expanded during World War II as a result of the Emergency Shipbuilding program administered under the United States Maritime Commission.

The Quincy yard was sold to General Dynamics Corporation in the mid 1960s, and closed in 1986. The Alameda yard was closed by Bethlehem Steel in the early 1970s, while the San Francisco facility was sold to British Aerospace in the mid 1990s and survives as BAE Systems San Francisco Ship Repair.

Bethlehem Steel ceased shipbuilding activities in 1997 in an attempt to preserve its core steelmaking operations.


The following shipyards were owned by Bethlehem. They are listed in order of acquisition.

  • Bethlehem Wilmington, Wilmington, Delaware (1904–1925, 1941–1945)
  • Union Iron Works, San Francisco, California (1905–1941)
  • Hunters Point Drydocks, Hunters Point, San Francisco, California (1908–1920) — Acquired by the US Navy
  • Fore River Shipyard, Quincy, Massachusetts (1913–1964) Sold to General Dynamics Corporation in 1964.
  • Bethlehem Sparrows Point Shipyard, Sparrows Point, Maryland (1914–1997)
  • Bethlehem Elizabethport, Elizabethport, New Jersey (1916–1921)
  • Alameda Works Shipyard, Alameda, California (1916–1956)
  • Squantum Victory Yard, Quincy, Massachusetts (1917–1919) The "Victory Yard" was constructed specifically for the building of destroyers for the war effort, to free up the Fore River Yard for other vessels including the battlecruiser USS Lexington.
  • Bethlehem Mariners Harbor, Staten Island, New York (1938–1960)
  • Bethlehem Shipyard (Southwest Marine Terminal at Berth 240), San Pedro, California (1940–1981)
  • Bethlehem Fairfield Shipyard, Baltimore, Maryland (1940–1945)
  • Bethlehem Hingham Shipyard, Hingham, Massachusetts (1940–1945)
  • Bethlehem Atlantic Works, East Boston, Massachusetts
  • Bethlehem Brooklyn 56th Street Shipyard, Brooklyn, New York
  • Hoboken Shipyard, Hoboken, New Jersey (?–1982)
  • Bayonne Naval Drydock, Bayonne, New Jersey ?
  • Bethlehem Pennsylvania Shipyards, Inc., Beaumont, Texas (1948–1989) is a personal website. Opinions expressed are my own, and not those of my employer or any groups I am affiliated with.
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