Located in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, the shipyard was a major builder of military vessels for the Great Lakes. It was founded in 1902 and manufactured steel ferries and ore haulers primarily. During World War II, Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company would build submarines, tank landing crafts, and self-propelled fuel barges. In 1939, shipyard president Charles West contacted the Bureau of Construction and Repair to propose constructing destroyers at Manitowoc. A contract for 10 submarines was awarded in the fall of 1940. Unfortunately, the employees of this shipyard were exposed to asbestos daily, as they would have to cut and sand asbestos products to fit the ships, which would cloud the air they were breathing with toxic dust.