As you may or may not know, The Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia, prior to becoming a world-renowned art center, was in fact a place that built torpedoes.
On Armistice Day, November 12, 1918, the U.S. Navy began construction on the facility on the Alexandria waterfront which became known as the U.S. Naval Torpedo Station. In the photo above, via the Library of Congress circa 1921, you can see the original facade of the building from the waterfront but, the most striking thing is the dock which is in the foreground. The docks as you can see, were built for MUCH bigger naval vessels than the ones currently moored at the dock now.
In 1969, longtime Alexandrian and champion of the arts Marian Van Landingham led the charge for the City of Alexandria to buy the property from the U.S. Government and what the building has become now is due to Ms. Landingham’s vision of using the arts to revitalize a community.
To read more history of the Torpedo Factory Art Center, visit this link.