In 1868 the City of Philadelphia sold the 923-acre League Island, located in South Philadelphia at the bottom of Broad Street, to the United States government for the bargain price of one dollar. League Island operated as a Naval Shipyard until 1996 and oversaw the construction of fifty-three warships and the repair of 1,218. At its peak in World War II nearly a decade after this aerial photo was taken, the Shipyard employed more than 50,000 workers.
In March 2000 the City of Philadelphia once again took ownership of the almost 1,000-acre retired Navy Yard and began plans to transform the industrial relic into a mixed-use complex of 115 companies, parks, restaurants, a golf course, and commercial shipbuilders. League Island is now divided into five districts according to use, architecture, and development plans. The most prominent and frequently toured district is the Historic Core where visitors can explore preserved gatehouses, officers quarters, parade grounds, dry docks, and the Commandant’s mansion.