Welcome to real history at her finest! Even people who bore easily will be able to enjoy this still active, in commision, oldest warship in the world. The tour lasts approximately 30-45 minutes and consists of the deck and first floor where the canons are. Our female tour guide was informative, friendly and delivered the history of the ship in a most fascinating manor.
Mid-April to Sept: Tuesday through Sundays from 10am -3:30pm
Contact their website email for info on winter hours and dates
Parking: (We parked at Nautica. Approx. $8)
• Nautica Parking Phone: (617) 723-1488
Location: Constitution Rd., opposite the Navy Yard visitor's center. 5 Minute walk to ship.
- Arrive at least one half hour before each tour to allow yourself to go through their rigorous security procedures.
- All bags, purses, wallets, backpacks, fannypacks, shopping bags, coats, etc. will be searched for weapons, explosives, and contraband.
- Weapons are not allowed on the ship or anywhere in the Navy Yard and the National Park Service may confiscate any weapon (including mace or pepper spray) that is illegal in the State of Massachusetts. For knives, this is anything over 2 1/2 inches.
- Do not confuse the museum with the ship. If you contact one, they won't be able to give you info about the other. We did, and the museum staff was grumpy about it.
- Obviously, weapons aren't allowed on board but don't forget about your other personal items that you may not want the world to know you're carrying. Like feminine hygiene napkins, condoms, etc. If you don't want the whole navy yard knowing, leave it in the car!
Better known as "Old Ironsides," the USS Constitution can be found at anchor in her berth at the Charlestown Navy Yard. It is the oldest commissioned ship in the U.S. fleet along with being the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. Its a vestige of the days of "wooden ships and iron men", when she and her crew of 200 succeeded at the perilous task of asserting the sovereignty of an improbable new nation. Every July 4 and on certain other occasions she's towed out for a turnabout in Boston Harbor, the very place her keel was laid on October 21, 1797.
It is a beautiful sailing ship that had its brass bell; many of its copper fittings; and it’s bottom sheathed in copper, all supplied by .Paul Revere. Her hull was made of white oak from the sea islands of Georgia. the toughest wood grown in North America. Her principal service was during Thomas Jefferson's campaign against the Barbary pirates, off the coast of North Africa, and in the War of 1812. In 42 engagements, her record was 42-0 with 20 vessels captured. The nickname "Old Ironsides" was acquired during the War of 1812, when shots from the British warship Guerrière appeared to bounce off her tough oaken hull.
Today she only has about 8%-10% of her original wood remaining in place, though her heart, the “keel” is original. The ship was retired from combat in 1815, and was rescued from destruction when Oliver Wendell Holmes's poem Old Ironsides launched a preservation movement in 1830. She underwent a major restoration in the early 1990s, and only about 8%-10% of her original wood remained in place (the keel, the heart of the ship, is original). This was in preparation for its bicentennial in 1997, when it sailed under its own power for the first time since 1881.
Men and women of the regular navy maintain a 24-hour watch. Free tours have sailors showing visitors around the ship, guiding them to her top, or spar, deck, and the gun deck below
The Consitution and Cassin Young, along with the museum are isolated from the rest of the wharfs. The constitution has been in this yard since 1934, and maintained by the Navy. Last total rennovation was 1997They are under Navy control and actively used. The rope rigging takes up 5 miles of twined rope. It needs replacing periodically in spite of today it being synthetic. The 44 guns each weigh 5600 pounds, and send a 24 pound shot. It would go 1200 yards in length A gun crew of 9-14 men was required, and they could reload in one minute, better than the adversary.
It is open 106 Tues-Sunday and winters hours only Thursday-Sunday. Free admission and they let about 30-40 people on board at one time.
The USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship in service and has a full crew. Always seen sailing in the harbour during the 4th July celebrations it is a classic warship and saw service during the 1812 War with the British.
The day in late May 2007 when we visited there were large crowds waiting to view the ship which prevented us from going aboard. We had a good view from the dock and took some good photos to remind us of the visit. There are several naval museums nearby which we enjoyed.
The ship was first put in use in 1797 at a cost of $302,718 (pretty precise-huh). It had a crew of 450-500 and the length is 204 feet with the beam another 45 feet overhanging. It was built as part of six to protect the US growing shipping interests. Piracy and French & English were all not good for that growth. So these ships were to protect the US sea activity. It was designed to be the fastest on the seas, but also carry comparable cannon defense. The fame in its era was in 1812 they defeated British ships, and the hull sides held up better because of the thickness of the wood was greater. It also was involved in the Med for detering pirates kidnapping sailors and captains for ransom (Familiar with current day events). They tried to scrap it in 1829 but public outrage stopped that. and was active to early 1900's.
It was restored first in 1927, and many times since. Today some of the deck is under reconstruction to arch the deck in the middle for water runoff.
I must admit that visiting the USS Constitution wasn't on my priority list but my friends wanted to go so I followed along and again, I'm really glad I did! The USS Constitution is the oldest American warship afloat. Built in 1794-97, this beautiful ship, nicknamed "Old Ironside" because enemy fire seemed to bounce off her during battle, won her first great victory in 1812 against the British and our tour guide - who was amazing by the way - did a great job of reminding us how big an event it was for the then newly-born US Marine. Oh, the irony!
The oldest commissioned warship in the world became known as "Old Ironsides" during the war of 1812 when she fought the British Frigate H.M.S. Guerriere. The Guerriere sank like a stone, while the cannonballs she fired at the U.S.S. Constitution merely "bounced off" as if she were made of iron.
In fact the Constitution is made of a three-layer sandwich of wood from all across America. Her "ironsides" are white oak from New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts; her frame is the dependable live oak from Saint Simons Island off Georgia; and her masts are yellow pine from Georgia and the Carolinas.
Freedom Trail Walking Info :
Continue to follow The Trail across the Navy Yard to the USS Constitution Museum. Or follow The Trail out of the Navy Yard toward Monument Square by proceeding north to Adams Street. Bunker Hill Monument is located in Monument Square.
Even for those of us not deeply interested in historical warfare, the USS Constitution ("Old Ironsides") is worth a look. The tour is free and run by current members of the armed forces, who are well-informed of its remarkable history.
I would recommend doing the Freedom Trail in two parts.
I was overly ambitious in walking the entire freedom trail in one day, but it is EXHAUSTING. It's quite a lot to take in.
Do the USS Constitution on a separate day- there's a lot to see. The free tour inside, but the museum along-side can be an hour-hour and half in itself. The video is worth seeing regarding the history of the USS Constitution, and the displays are fun for children.
Here's the most important tip of all- Take the ferry that's leaves from near the USS Constitution for a nice scenic route back... it's a way to get in both land and water without paying for those tours
The oldest and most famous warship in the US Navy. It is still commisioned as a warship and is manned by active duty US Navy sailors. Take the tour and be respectful. Watch your head. This vessel was built when the average sailor was about 5'6" tall. Make sure you check the board with the names of all past Captains of the ship. There is an unbroken string of commanders since the early 1800's.
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