Newport News Naval Shipyard The Newport News Shipyard has a rich history dating back to its founding in 1896. Located on the Virginia coast, it was originally known as the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry-Dock Company. It has the distinction of being the largest privately owned shipyard in the United States and it’s currently owned by Northrop Grumman. Collis P. Huntington built the dockyard; he was originally a railroad entrepreneur. Although, it began as a location that repaired ships and served as a transportation hub, in 1891 the yard began building ships. The first Navy ships that were built on premise were the Nashville, Wilmington and Helena. Warship building started to increase in the early 1900’s. Six dreadnought ships were built including the Delaware, Mississippi, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia. Most of the ships served in World War II. Soon after, the yard started in production of aircraft carriers.. The shipyard continued to thrive building civilian and military ships. The SS United States was built at Newport News and still holds the trans-Atlantic speed record. They began to unveil nuclear powered warships in 1954 with a prototype for a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and the first ever nuclear-powered submarine in 1959. The shipyard began producing modern aircraft carriers and tanker ships in recent times. The shipyard is one of two shipyards in the United States that can build nuclear powered submarines. In 2001, Northrop Grumman purchased the shipyard and it’s currently valued at four billion dollars. The shipyard also has the largest crane in the Western hemisphere. It still remains an important commerce and naval hub today.