Not so very long ago, much of the storied Philadelphia Navy Yard lay dormant. Once a vibrant hub of the nation’s maritime industry — employing 40,000 at its height during World War II and building and launching the likes of the battleship New Jersey into U.S. Naval service — the Yard closed in 1995, and 7,000 jobs were lost. Although the Navy maintained some military facilities on the Yard’s western end post-closure, acre after desolate acre of the sprawling 1200 acre shipyard lay abandoned.
For many, the decaying Navy Yard stood in silent testament to the broader decline of industrial America. By the turn of the last century, untold numbers of industrial and manufacturing sector firms were shuttered in Philadelphia, alone. Marketplace changes and foreign competition ravaged those sectors, and industry stalwarts like Rhoades Industries, a mechanical contracting and fabrication firm doing business in Philadelphia since 1938, were no exception.
But endings often... Read More