About Mare Island
Vallejo, California, in Solano County is the home of the Mare Island Naval Ship yard, built and opened in 1854 as a place for ship repair on the West Coast. It remained open and operating until 1996, when the shipyard was closed permanently.
1911-By James David Givens – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID pan.6a33082.
Since its closure, Touro University established a campus on the southern end of Mare Island. Several residential neighborhoods and parks have also been built on Mare Island. It an eclectic mix of new and old and in addition to newly developed businesses, it is the home of the oldest naval chapel in the United States, St. Peter’s Chapel. Built in 1901, it is known to have one of the largest collections of Tiffany stained glass under one roof. It is currently used for weddings and other special events.
The oldest Naval Cemetery in the United States is also located on Mare Island. Burials began in 1856 and continued until 1921. Among the approximately 900 graves is the daughter of Francis Scott Key, murderess Lucy Lawson, and six Russian sailors who were laid to rest near the middle during the Civil War era.” (Source: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/mare-island-naval-cemetery. Unfortunately, the cemetery has suffered from neglect. Rep. Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena) has introduced bills in Congress for the Veterans Administration to handle this aging cemetery’s maintenance. So far, none have made their way to the House floor. In the meantime, there has been funding for some infrastructure repairs (drainage ditches and fences). Rep. Thompson will continue his efforts to preserve this historical piece of the Vallejo/Mare Island story. Currently, it is open to the public on weekends.
A book, History of Solano and Napa Counties California by Tom Gregory, is available in the SCGS library. This book contains much more detailed information about Mare Island, including the names and dates of service of the Commandants of Mare Island Navy Yard.