Perhaps we all just take it for granted these days. Generations of families, visitors, and passersby simply use it as a landmark and don't truly understand and appreciate the rich history and longevity of it all.

Wangkun Jia
Wangkun Jia

That would be the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Its mailing address would tell you that it's a New Hampshire base, but its physical location is on Seavey Island in Kittery, Maine. Semantics, for some.

According to 24/7 Wall St, it's the fourth-oldest active military base in all of America. For more than two centuries, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard has been an important cog in the United States Navy's offensive and defensive plan for the country, and it remains that way today.

The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard first opened in 1800. While it doesn't register as the oldest active military base, it is the oldest continuous operating naval shipyard in the nation. The base itself sprawls across nearly 300 acres total, with many buildings on the base listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

USS Forrestal
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Speaking of history, some of the most historic ships in United States history were produced and fitted at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Without the efforts of the crew at the yard, key battles in the War of 1812 and Civil War may have looked drastically different.

Remaining an active military base for more than 200 years means plenty of responsibility. The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard still carries a vital mission today. It's looked at as one of the premier bases for the safe repair and modernization of the United States fleet of nuclear-powered attack submarines.

Virginia-class Attack Submarine USS New Hampshire Is Commissioned
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Today, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard employs close to 8,000 civilians. Roughly 1,000 enlisted personnel round out the impressive crew at the base.

And if you're curious, the oldest active military base in America is located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The Carlisle Barracks Army Base was opened in 1776.


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