Hull No. 99 under construction at the Merrill-Stevens shipyard in Jacksonville, Florida.

Hull No. 99 under construction at the Merrill-Stevens shipyard in Jacksonville, Florida.

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory,
(please include photographer's name when noted).


  • Hull No. 99 under construction at the Merrill-Stevens shipyard in Jacksonville, Florida.

Image Number

  • PR77495


  • 1917

Date Note

  • Photographed on December 31, 1917.

Series Title

General Note

  • The Merrill-Stevens Drydock & Repair Co. was founded in 1866, by Captain James Gilman Merrill, as a blacksmith shop, located on the St. Johns River in South Jacksonville. It was later formally incorporated 1885 by James Eugene Merrill and Arthur D. Stevens as Merrill-Stevens Engineering Company and evolved from a blacksmith shop to building ships for transporting troops during WWI and later became the largest Atlantic shipyard south of Norfolk, Va., during World War II. Following the first World War the company changed its name to Merrill-Stevens Dry Dock & Repair Company. It later relocated to Miami after WWII. Until late 2004, it was owned by descendants of company founder James Eugene Merrill. Believed to be the oldest continuously operating business in the state of Florida, it ceased operations on Friday December 18, 2009.
  • Ships being constructed during World War I were orignally contracted or requisitioned by the U. S. Shipping Board (USSB), Emergency Fleet Corporation (EFC) to replace merchant shipping being lost between the U.S. and Europe at the hands of German submarines. The first 150 names of these ships (mostly related to Native Americans, with a few exceptions), were picked by Mrs. Woodrow Wilson. Mrs. Wilson christened the first one at the Hog Island shipyard on the Delaware River. Hull 99 (USSB contract/requisition #1) was delivered in August 1918 and christened "Red Cloud". A composite ship (wooden vessel with structural steel incorporated to stiffen the hull), it was a 5750 ton cargo ship.
  • Accompanying note: "From a write-up on Fort Saint Nicholas by Arlington resident, F. W. Bruce ca. 1924: 'In 1917, the Merrill Stevens company began construction of what was designated the 'South Side Shipyard.' which was afterwards absorbed by the U. S. Shipping Board. For the construction of the plant, the writer was appointed Chief, and occupied that position until after construction of ships for WW I began.'"
  • "Merrill Stevens Shipbuilding bought an 80 acre site, which was the old Hudhall farm and, with F. W. Bruce as supervisor, built boat slips, marine rails, dry-docks, a water tower made of concrete, a huge pattern loft, and a total of nine buildings including, a generator building, pattern building, and offices".

Photographer/Personal Author

Physical Description

  • 1 digital image - b&w

Subject Term

Geographic Term

Subject Corporate

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