The Beginning of a Shipbuilding Legend

Above: August 17, 1900: New York Shipbuilding’s Covered Shipways are just beginning to take shape along the Delaware River in Camden, NJ.

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The Beginning

Henry G. Morse, founder of Camden’s New York Shipbuilding Corporation

Henry G. Morse, founder of Camden’s New York Shipbuilding Corporation

New York Ship was the dream of Henry G. Morse. After spending 25 years building iron bridges and tunnels for a variety of companies, and two years as president of the Harlan & Hollingsworth shipyard in Wilmington, Delaware, Morse decided it was time to start his own company. With the financial support of Andrew Mellon and Henry Frick, Morse set out to build a state of the art shipyard. He named his company New York Ship, because it was originally intended to be located on Staten Island.

In the end, Morse decided on a large tract of farmland in Camden, NJ, which offered better land, rail facilities, and access to a great number of experienced shipyard workers. The name was kept, and in 1899, Morse began constructing his shipyard, which opened in 1900.

A waterfront view showing New York Ship’s distinctive covered ways under which work can be carried on relatively independent of the weather (left). Contract #1, the 310 foot long oil tanker, J.M. Guffey, as seen after completion in June 1902 (right).