The Torpedo Factory Art Center was once a torpedo factory!
The U.S. Naval Torpedo Station opened in 1919 and operated for five years before becoming munitions storage. With the onset of WWII, it produced Mark III and Mark IV torpedoes. By the war's end, it was converted to government storage until the City of Alexandria bought it in 1969.
In 1974, a group of visionary artists proposed to renovate part of the neglected factory into usable studio spaces. One of the country's earliest examples of creative reuse of industrial space, the Torpedo Factory Art Center became a catalyst for the revitalization of the Potomac riverfront and the historic preservation of Old Town Alexandria as a thriving visitor destination. Today, it continues to be a prototype for other visual arts organizations around the world.