Through Waters Deep – Tour of Boston, Part 5 – plus giveaway!

Tour of Boston Navy YardThe city of Boston is fascinating—chockfull of history and color. While best known for its key role in the American Revolution, the city also played a role in World War II, with busy shipyards and naval bases—and more! The city’s reputation for revolutionary foment seemed a great backdrop for Through Waters Deep, set in the tumult of 1941, as isolationists and interventionists argued the correct course for the nation’s future, and as rumors of sabotage and espionage ran rampant.

To enter the giveaway for the Through Waters Deep apron, see the information at the end of the post.

I’ve been blessed to visit Boston a number of times. In July 2014, I made a research trip and took lots of pictures to help me visualize the story. We’ve followed the Freedom Trail, established in the 1950s to connect Boston’s multiple historical sites. Earlier we explored:

Boston Common and the Public Garden

Park Street Church

Paul Revere House and Old North Church

Charlestown and the USS Constitution

Old State House, Faneuil Hall & Quincy Market

Today we visit the Charlestown Navy Yard, originally known as the Boston Navy Yard. Founded in 1800, the Navy Yard became a major site for construction and repair of US naval warships. The Yard closed in 1973, but was incorporated into the Boston National Historical Park in 1974, and is now a popular tourist site.

Let’s follow the path of my fictional heroine in Through Waters Deep, Mary Stirling, as she goes to work. Entering the gate at the intersection of Chelsea and Tremont, we first pass the Ropewalk, built in 1837. Workers in this extremely long narrow building could fashion rope up to 1200-ft long. The ropewalk produced all manila line for the United States Navy until 1955. Just past the ropewalk stands the octagonal Muster House, built in the 1850s.

Heading to the northeast along Second Avenue, we enter a large cluster of buildings used for everything from offices to workshops to storage to forges. No longer part of the Navy Yard, these buildings are being converted to civilian use. Mary works in a fictional office in Building 39.

Ships at the Boston Navy Yard were constructed in two different methods. Ships could be constructed on shipways, with above-ground scaffolding, and launched “down the ways” into Boston Harbor. Ships could also be constructed in dry docks, large basins with a caisson at the end to keep the seawater out. To launch the ship, water was pumped through the caisson into the dry dock to float the ship. Then the caisson was removed, and the ship sailed out. Alternately, a ship could pull in to a flooded dry dock for repairs. The caisson was positioned, and water was pumped out. This was done on 17 May 2015 at the Charlestown Navy Yard for the restoration of USS Constitution. You can see a fun time-lapse video of the process here. Dry Dock 1 was constructed in 1833, and Dry Dock 2 in 1905. More were added later.

The Charlestown Navy Yard was responsible for the construction and repair of thousands of ships. From 1939-45, six thousand ships were constructed, repaired, or outfitted. At the start of World War II, women worked at the Navy Yard only as telephone operators or in clerical positions (like Mary). As the war progressed, women were hired for more types of jobs. At the peak in 1943, the Boston Navy Yard employed 50,000 people, 20 percent of whom were women.

Today the Charlestown Navy Yard is an essential stop for the Boston tourist. The USS Constitution, flagship of the US Navy, has called Boston her home port since 1897 (see my post here), and the World War II era destroyer USS Cassin Young has been docked there since 1978 (see my post here). Both the Charlestown Navy Yard Visitor Center and the USS Constitution Museum are well worth a visit, especially with children. For fun, take the ferry from downtown Boston to the Navy Yard!


Boston National Historical Park, Charlestown Navy Yard: http://www.nps.gov/bost/learn/historyculture/cny.htm

Bither, Barbara A., Boston National Historical Park. Images of America: Charlestown Navy Yard. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 1999.

Boston National Historical Park. Charlestown Navy Yard. Washington, DC: Division of Publications, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 2010.

TWD apron 2Giveaway

I’m giving away this adorable vintage Through Waters Deep apron, made by my talented author-buddy Marci Seither, and modeled by her lovely daughter! To enter, leave a comment below (US & Canada only please), or on next week’s Destroyer Tour posts, which will show pictures from World War II destroyers, as in the novel (Part 1: Topside; Part 2: Below Decks). You can earn a maximum of three entries by leaving a comment on each of the three posts. If you can’t leave a comment, please send me an email to enter. Giveaway ends Wednesday, August 5, 2015 at midnight, Pacific Time. I’ll announce the winner here on Friday, August 7, 2015.

64 Responses to “Through Waters Deep – Tour of Boston, Part 5 – plus giveaway!”

  1. Eli O.

    I love vintage and I love this book…can’t think of a cooler giveaway! Thanks for the opportunity and for sharing Mary and Jim’s story with us.

  2. Raechel

    I LOVE being able to see the shipyard having read the book! So cool.
    And that apron is darling!!
    Thank you for this give-away!

  3. Lisa Allen

    Thank you for so much information and photos! I pray one day our family can go see some of these places you write about! Until then, we will travel through you! 🙂

  4. Kelly Bridgewater

    I love these images especially the one looking down second Ave toward the Navy yard. Thank you for sharing about your aetting. It helps bring the book more to life for me.

  5. Sherry Murchison

    I would love to win thus book!!! I have read 2 of your books so far. Loved seeing all these pictures!

    • Sarah Sundin

      Just to clarify…this giveaway is for the apron, not the book 🙂 But I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures.

  6. Veronica Hill

    i am going to have to go back and re-read the book now that I have seen pictures of the places. it’s so neat to see the actual places that were included in the book! I really appreciate you attention to historical details. And I would love the apron 🙂

  7. kim amundsen

    Nice apron. Thanks for such wonderful pics.

  8. Rebecca Wilson

    Love all the history! Looking forward to reading this book!

  9. Carol Alscheff

    Looking forward to reading your new book. Great tour of Boston. I like the apron too.

  10. Connie Hendryx

    Thanks for the apron giveaway!! What fun!

  11. Jennifer Hibdon

    Love the apron!!!! I would hate to usse it and get it soiled!!! Thanx for the giveaway!!!

  12. Anne Rightler

    Loving the tour. Hoping my dil puts some of the sites on our own tour in a few weeks!

    • Sarah Sundin

      So many good things to see in Boston! I didn’t even show the Lexington & Concord area…or Plymouth…or – well, you can spend a weeks in the area and never get bored.

  13. Tori

    Your pics and tour through Boston have been fabulous! & I absolutely love the apron!!!

  14. Cari Wolfe

    Lovely pictures! I will be keeping them in mind while reading the book! Thanks for sharing! The apron is awesome!

  15. Julia

    I haven’t read this book yet but I can’t wait!

  16. Rachel D

    Love this apron! And Love Through Waters Deep! Just finished chapter 12! Too bad I have adult responsibilities which causes me to put the book down 🙁

  17. Caryl Kane

    Sarah, thank you for sharing these AMAZING pictures! My grandfather was NAVY so this tour is extra special for me. BTW, I loved your blue dress- so cute. I am so excited about the Waves of Freedom series. Thank you for the giveaway. 🙂

  18. Lisa Boyle

    Such great photos! We really want to get to visit Boston someday soon. So much history! Thanks for the giveaway. I just love the apron! 🙂

  19. Shelia Hall

    great photos Sarah and i would love to win the apron!!

  20. Katelyn

    Thanks for the great pictures and giveaway! The apron is super adorable. Looking forward to Through Waters Deep and the rest of the series.

  21. Mary Hirose

    Now we have another place in Boston to visit the next time my husband runs the Boston Marathon.

  22. Debora Wilder

    I am thoroughly enjoying seeing the picture you have taken. It will definitely help me to picture things while reading Through Waters Deep.

    The vintage apron is wonderful. Thank you for the chance to win it.

  23. Edward Arrington

    I haven’t read the book but would love to win the apron for my wife.

  24. Morgan Parson

    I couldn’t imagine building a ship! But I bet each person who helped to build one had a great sense of pride seeing it in the water for the first time!

  25. Carla K

    So hard to believe there is so much history in one city! This looks like a trip of a lifetime!

  26. Terrill Rosado

    I live on the West Coast, but spent 5 years in Montreal, Quebec for my husband’s job. After reading this article and viewing your pictures, I want to kick myself for not making it to Boston. We had other East Coast adventures, but missed Boston. 🙁 Thank you for the walk through.