Steel America’s parent company, Colonna’s Shipyard was founded in 1875 in the (now) Berkley area of Norfolk, VA on the Elizabeth River. The original founder, Charles J. Colonna, designed and built this small just 10 years after the War Between the States ended. Times were hard and money scarce, but with all the hardships, it was an exciting time for this 26 year old ship’s carpenter starting his own business although the feelings of division were still strong. The Great Struggle had ended, and a reunited nation had begun an era of growth never before experienced. The Port was busy and literally full of vessels of all kinds, and these boats needed repairs; thus Charles J. found himself in the midst of a thriving seaport with every opportunity to succeed through hard work.
The shipyard was located in what was then Norfolk County, at a point on the South bank of the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River approximately one mile east of its confluence with the Southern Branch of this river. This location was on the west side of Main Street where the north end of this street terminated at the water’s edge, there being no bridge there at that time. The shipyard was located across the street from the old Herbert home in the section that was probably called Herbertsville then and is now called Berkley; it was diagonally across the river from downtown Norfolk, and when the river was bridged at this point, and street car tracks were laid about 30 years later, this area actually became part of the City of Norfolk through annexation in 1906.
Although over 140 years old, Colonna’s Shipyard has not stood still with respect to modernization. Colonna’s has made the capital investments necessary for improvements in efficiency and productivity. Colonna’s Shipyard is building an additional Floating Drydock (planned 2017). It will have a Lifting capacity 11,500 metric tons, an overall length of 595 feet, inside width 108 feet and plans are to be operational in early 2017.
Colonna’s Shipyard has full yard service utility distribution systems including steam, compressed air, compressed gas, potable water, cooling water and electrical power distribution of varying voltage, frequency and amperage. The shipyard owns and maintains two floating drydocks (to 14,500 ton capacity); one Marine Railway, one 1,000MT Marine Travelift and several piers and ship berthing spaces. For additional information about Steel America’s parent company, Colonna’s Shipyard, please visit www.colonnaship.com.