Dravo Corporation Shipyard
N 40° 30.709 W 080° 07.785
17T E 573727 N 4484930
Quick Description: State Historical Marker placed in a small park on Grand Avenue in Neville Island commemorating the Dravo Corporation’s shipbuilding of LSTs during World War II.
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 7/22/2006 11:52:18 PM
Waymark Code: WMHZF
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member The Leprechauns
Views: 163

Long Description:
Marker Text: During World War II, Dravo's shipyard here was a leader in the manufacture of Landing Ship Tanks--LSTs--for the U.S. Navy. Dravo's over 16,000 workers produced a total of 145 LSTs. This and four other inland yards, all using techniques pioneered by Dravo, contributed two-thirds of the Navy's fleet of over 1,000 LSTs. These amphibious craft proved vital to the success of Allied landings on enemy shores, 1943-45.

LST—Landing Ship Tank or Large Slow Target. These ships were originally conceived by the British Admiralty after the disastrous withdrawal at Dunkirk demonstrated a need to rapidly transfer troops and material to or from a beachhead. The Royal Navy met with the US Navy’s Bureau of Ships and a concept was quickly designed into an incredible vessel that became the workhorse of the allied landings. The Dravo Corporation was designated as the lead shipyard for LSTs. The company developed fabrication techniques that reduced construction time and costs and were applied to the other shipyards that built LSTs. LST 1's keel was laid at Neville Island on July 20, 1942, and the ship was delivered to the navy on December 14, 1942—less than 5 months! Dravo built 145 LSTs during the war. The American Bridge Corporation in Ambridge built 119. There were a total of 1,051 LSTs built during WWII.

The LST was a moderate sized vessel, especially for an inland shipbuilder. It was 328 feet long and had a beam of 50 feet. It carried 2,100 tons of cargo at roughly 9 knots. It was armed primarily for defense against air attack.

LSTs were used in landings in Sicily and Italy. The initial beaching on D-Day used 173 LSTs. They were extensively used in the Pacific with the largest flotilla of 343 used in the first landing on Okinawa. Of the 1,051 built, only 23 were lost to enemy fire, and another 16 lost to weather or accidents. Most of the ships were scrapped in the late ‘40s after the war, but some built by Dravo during the war served in Korea and later in Vietnam.

After finding the marker, we searched Neville Island in hopes of finding some evidence of the Dravo Shipyard. While we did not find anything conclusive, (like a building with Dravo written on it) we were fairly sure that we had found at least part of the shipyard at the Frontier Steel facility about 4 tenths of a mile east of the historical marker on Grand Avenue. We checked the Frontier Steel website (see link below) and sure enough it is the Dravo Shipward where they built the LSTs. Approximate coordinates for the yard on Grand Avenue are N 40º 30.594 W 80º 07.376.

See the Mooncrest Historical Marker Waymark (WMJ02)to see where many of the Dravo workers lived.

The I-79 bridge over the Ohio River at Neville Island has been dedicated as The Pittsburgh Naval & Shipbuilders Memorial Bridge 1941 – 1945.

The Dravo Corporation Historical Marker Waymark is dedicated to the Navigator’s parents. Ma Navigator welded LSTs for Dravo at Neville Island during the war. Pa Navigator’s Seabee battalion, sailed from Saipan (N 15º 11’ E 145º 45’) to Okinawa (N 26º 21‘ E 127º 45’) about 1,400 miles on LSTs in the spring of 1945. Chances are he was not on one of her ships, but who knows? This Waymark is also dedicated to all the men and women of World War II who fought on the battle fronts and the home front.

For additional information regarding the women and men involved with LSTs, may we suggest the book "Don’t Call Me Rosie The Women Who Welded LSTs and The Men Who Sailed On Them" by Kathleen Thomas.

(visit link)

(visit link)




Links:

Wikipedia Entry, “Tank landing ship”: (visit link)

Frontier Steel: (visit link)

NavSource Online: An amazing archive of all the LSTs built during the war, includes build dates and locations, specifications, missions, and eventual disposition of the vessel. Photos for many of the LSTs: (visit link)

Pittsburgh Tribune Review article on LSTs: (visit link)


An archive of all the LSTs built by Dravo at Neville Island:
(visit link)

Nearby Waymark:
(visit link)

There are many other excellent sources of information on LSTs on the web.
Marker Name: Dravo Corporation

County: Allegheny

Date Dedicated: 08/18/1995

Marker Type: Roadside

Location: Neville Island Road, and Grand Avenue (Near Neville Island Volunteer Fire Dept.)

Category: Business & Industry, Entrepreneurs

Website: [Web Link]

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Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log User Rating  
SCPO Rich visited Dravo Corporation Shipyard 5/9/2009 SCPO Rich visited it
Mr. 0 visited Dravo Corporation Shipyard 5/19/2007 Mr. 0 visited it
The Leprechauns visited Dravo Corporation Shipyard 10/28/2006 The Leprechauns visited it

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