• Also Known As: Old Ironsides

  • Address: 1 Constitution Rd
  • Vicinity: Charlestown Navy Shipyard
  • Neighborhood of Charlestown in Boston
  • Hours: Nov 1-Mar 31 - Thursday-Sunday 10am-4pm Apr 1-Sep 30 - Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm Oct 1-Oct 31 Tuesday-Sunday 10am-4pm
  • Travel Genus: Sight , Visit
  • Sight Category: Vehicle
  • Activity Category: Tour
  • Vehicle Type: Boat

USS CONSTITUTION, the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat, promotes the United States Navy and America's naval heritage through educational outreach, public access and historic demonstrations, in port and underway. - US Navy



Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
1794/03/24 George Washington US President US Congress passes the "Act to provide a Naval Armament" which authorizes President Washington to create the new United States Navy.
1794/06/28 Joshua Humphreys Naval Architect Joshua Humphreys is appointed Naval Constructor-In-Chief and soon begins designing new ships. Each of the six frigates that will be built are to be copper bottomed - covered below the waterline with 12000 feet of overlapping copper sheets.
1795/00/00 Paul Revere Manufacturer Revere is hired to provide 15 tons of drawn copper bolts to fasten hull planking to live oak frame, a 242-pound bell and fittings for the USS CONSTITUTION at $3820.33. Revere's foundry draws will down the English-made copper bolts and provide the bell.
1797/04/30 William Rush Sculptor Rush designs a figurehead (lost) of the Roman god Hercules for the USS "CONSTITUTION of the Empire.... ought to be represented by an Herculean figure, standing on the firm rock of independence" WR. The sculpture is in a painting by Michel Corne c 1803.
1797/05/00 Simon Skillin Artisans Designed by William Rush of Philadelphia, John and Simon Skillin carve a figurehead of the Roman god Hercules. The only contemporary representation known of it is in a painting of the ship by Michel Felice Corne c 1803.
1797/05/31 Rev William Bentley Life Rev William Bentley visits the USS CONSTITUTION: Saw the new Ship and the beautiful draught of Col Claghorn. Saw the Head, called Constitution, finished by the Skillings. It is an Hercules with ... the United States and the Constitution.
1797/07/27 It being of importance to the United States that the Frigate CONSTITUTION should be coppered on the Stocks before she is Launched into the Water .... it will prevent heaving down afterwards and a Consequent heavy expense. James McHenry to George Claghorne
1797/10/21 United States Navy Owner The USS CONSTITUTION is launched in Boston, Massachusetts.
1803/00/00 Paul Revere and Son Manufacturer Revere's copper rolling mill in Canton supplies thousands of sheets of copper used to re-fit the CONSTITUTION.
1804/00/00 Tobias Lear Groom Frances Dandridge Henley, niece of Martha Washington, marries Tobias Lear. They will honeymoon aboard the USS Constitution on their way to Algeria where Tobias is to be Consul General to North Africa.
1804/09/12 In the early morning as CONSTITUTION sails in the American squadron a dozen miles north of Tripoli (Libya), a gust of wind takes her all aback where she is struck by the USS PRESIDENT, splintering the Hercules figurehead.
1804/09/13 The CONSTITUTION sails for Malta, where she remains two months for repairs. The figurehead is replaced with a carving of a billethead: a curlicue of wood that provides a neat upper end to the projecting cutwater.
1804/09/19 discharged this Afternoon the 12 Malta Carpenters They have been employd (Sundays Excepted) since the 24th of September last in repairing the Cut water fitting the Billet head and making other necessary alterations, - Sailing Master Nathaniel Haraden
1807/06/03 Archibald Henderson US Marine Marine Lieutenant Archibald Henderson begins serving aboard USS CONSTITUTION.
1811/02/18 Dr Charles Cotton Military Receiving $30.00 per month plus two rations per day, Charles Cotton joins the crew of USS CONSTITUTION as a surgeon's mate. He berths in the cockpit (or steerage) and eats there with the warrant officers.
1812/08/19 Alexander S Wadsworth First lieutenant on the Constitution USS CONSTITUTION battles the HMS GUERRIERE 350 nautical mile southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia
1813/04/11 Dr Charles Cotton Military After serving on USS HORNET, Charles Cotton returns to duty on the USS CONSTITUTION where he has the watch assignment of idler and is assigned to the cockpit.
1813/07/24 Dr Charles Cotton Military Dr Charles Cotton receives his commission as surgeon. Surgeon are paid $50.00 per month with the option of receiving two rations per day.
1814/06/10 Dr Charles Cotton Military Dr Charles Cotton transfers to Newport Station in Newport, Rhode Island, exchanging places with John A Kearney.
1815/05/18 Archibald Henderson US Marine Archibald Henderson completes his tour of duty aboard USS CONSTITUTION.
1830/09/16 Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr Author "Old Ironsides", a poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes, is published in the Boston Daily Advertiser, bringing national attention to the scrapping USS Constitution. Old Ironsides
1906/00/00 Eric Pape Work Eric Pape designs a petition from Massachusetts to the US Congress to preserve the USS Constitution. This illuminated scroll is now on display in the National Museum of the United States Navy in Washington, DC.

Data »

Particulars for USS CONSTITUTION:
Era Age of Sail
Vehicle Type Boat
Art Material Copper
Owner Federal
Criteria Historic Event
Area of Significance Military
Level of Significance National
Historic Use Naval Facility
Area of Significance Politics-government
Boat Type Ship
Sight Category Vehicle

US National Registry of Historic Places Data »

Accurate at time of registration:

Registry Name:
Registry Address:
Registry Number: 66000789
Resource Type:
Owner: Federal
Architect: Humphreys,Joshua
Other Certification: Designated National Landmark, National Landmark boundary approved
Nominator Name: National Historic Landmark
Level of Significance: National
Area of Significance: Military, Politics-government
Applicable Criteria: Event
Period of Significance: 1800-1824, 1750-1799
Significant Year: 1797, 1812
Historic Function: Defense
Historic Sub-Function: Naval facility
Current Function: Recreation and Culture
Current Sub-Function: Museum

Creative Works »

Old Ironsides Poem Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr

Activities »

The US Navy conducts tours of USS Constitution. The ship is open for free guided tours throughout the year. Each tour is narrated by several of USS Constitution's active-duty United States Sailors and consists of four stations through the ship's top three decks, with tours beginning every half-hour from 10:00 am to the last tour at 3:30 pm Each tour can accommodate approximately 80 people. - US Navy

Activity Category Tour

Old Ironsides


Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle shout,
And burst the cannon's roar;--
The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more.

Her deck, once red with heroes' blood,
Where knelt the vanquished foe,
When winds were hurrying o'er the flood,
And waves were white below,
No more shall feel the victor's tread,
Or know the conquered knee;--
The harpies of the shore shall pluck
The eagle of the sea!

Oh, better that her shattered bulk
Should sink beneath the wave;
Her thunders shook the mighty deep,
And there should be her grave;
Nail to the mast her holy flag,
Set every threadbare sail,
And give her to the god of storms,
The lightning and the gale!


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