The Yard became active in repairing, altering, converting and building of vessels.Coast Guard cutters and tugs, destroyers and a Navy gunboat were built.In 1993, with the Cold War over and defense budget cuts looming, the decision to close the Charleston Naval Base was reached. In 1890, Charleston, having never fully recovered economically from the Civil War, was awarded the contract for a naval yard. Adger Smyth and Senator Benjamin Tillman had persistently lobbied the Navy for a shipyard in order to revitalize the area's economy.The 56th Congress of the United States passed an act authorizing the Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable John D. Although Charleston proved to be the ideal location, in reality, the decision was probably based as much on the political maneuvering of Senator Benjamin "Pitchfork Ben" Tillman as on naval strategy.
However, the Base remained open largely through political pressure by congressional representatives and city leaders, especially efforts made by Senator E. Charleston was to be designated as a new construction yard, thus creating the need for greater facilities and a much larger work force.
This activity boosted Charleston's economy by bringing jobs and commerce to city businesses.
Employment roughly tripled from pre-war numbers, peaking at 5,600.
By the end of the war, 93 officers were attached to District Headquarters and the Navy Yard's combined annual payroll exceeded million.
The Navy had become a major force the Charleston economy.
Hundreds of thousands of people were employed, two hundred fifty-six vessels built, thousands of others supported and millions of dollars poured into the area's economy.