Washington Navy Yard and Annex
This historic Sentry Tower and Wall, which date to 1906, once marked the northern boundary of the Navy Yard Annex. The Washington Navy Yard, located just east of this site, has been home to the U.S. Navy since 1799 and was originally the production hub of vital equipment for Naval ships. This industrial capacity grew as the original 12-acre site burgeoned to 127 acres by the 1940s. During its peak production years, more than 26,000 workers were employed here.
The robust Romanesque Revival-style design of the Sentry Tower and Wall, clearly referencing medieval fortifications, serves as a symbolic reminder of the Navy Yard’s long, proud and varied history as a center of ship outfitting and its present role as a ceremonial and administrative center for the Navy.
In the early 1950s, the industrial capacity of the Washington Navy Yard and Annex began to be reduced. Many former industrial buildings on the site were demolished over the years but some remain, both on the former site of the Annex and especially within the current boundary of the Navy Yard itself. The excess land and buildings were offered for redevelopment by the Federal Government in 2003. The Yards, a public-private redevelopment venture of the government and private sector developer Forest City, represents a new era of vibrancy for this site, now as a waterfront urban mixed-use neighborhood.
To commemorate and honor the proud industrial heritage of the Navy Yard Annex, sculptor Robert Jones created this installation to celebrate the dedication and artistry of four individuals who worked in the Navy Yard among the tens of thousands of workers who toiled here in the noble service of outfitting our nation’s Naval ships. Inspired by photography of the 1940s, Jones creates dynamic relationships between the raw material and form of each sculpture. The juxtaposition of subject and fabric creates emotional tension, reminding us of the contributions and sacrifices entailed in the everyday workings of the U.S. Navy.