The National Park Service has begun a project to rehabilitate the historic, visitor entrance-gates leading from Constitution Road into the Charlestown Navy Yard.
Historic, illuminated, aluminum signs that had been mounted on the tops of Gate 1 and Gate 2 have been removed and will be repaired and refurbished off-site, and the chain link fence and gate will be removed and replaced with a wrought-iron gate and fence that match the perimeter fence around the Navy Yard.
In addition to historic sign repair and the installation of a new gate and fence, the roof on the 1959 Gatehouse just inside Gate 1 will be replaced, the structure’s windows will be repaired, and new granite paving will be placed in front of the building.
The original design of the historic 1959 Gatehouse included 20-inch, illuminated, aluminum letters and numbers identifying Gate 1 and Gate 2; 20-inch “USS Constitution” letters that were placed over the roll-up curtain gate leading directly to the ship; and 34-inch illuminated letters spelling out “Boston Naval Shipyard” that were placed on top of the granite wall between Gate 1 and Gate 2.
Sometime around 1971, the Boston Naval Shipyard letters were removed and placed on the top of Building 204, a large parking garage and automotive shop that was located just outside Gate 2.
When Building 204 was demolished in 1980 to make way for Constitution Road and other roadway improvements, the letters were removed. Curators from the National Park Service discovered the letters in storage a few years ago, and they will be rehabbed, relit and reinstalled in their original location on top of the wall next to Gate 1 as part of this significant historic preservation project.
Installation of the new gate and new granite paving in front of the gatehouse is expected to begin in early spring.