Mare Island became the first United States naval base on the West Coast in 1854. Spanish ship captain Don Juan Manuel de Ayala y Aranza touched here in 1775. It received its present name from Mexican calvary commander General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo in 1830.
Mare Island illustrates the Nation's effort to extend its naval power into the Pacific Ocean. The first U.S. warship (1859) and first dry dock (1872-91) constructed on the West Coast were built here. To this day, Mare Island holds the record for building the destroyer USS Ward in 17½ days during World War I. The shipyard has been associated with military affairs, development of industrial design and persons significant in U.S. maritime history.