Lewis Nixon was born in Leesburg, Virginia in 1961. He died at the age of 79 in 1940. He was a shipbuilding executive, naval architect, and political activist.
Nixon graduated first in his class from the US Naval Academy in 1882 and was sent to study naval architecture at the Royal Naval College. He was appointed an assistant naval constructor with the rank of lieutenant. Later, he was assigned to the John Roach & Sons shipyard in Pennsylvania, allowing him to participate in the design and construction of three protected cruisers of the new steel navy: USS Atlanta, USS Boston, and USS Chicago. He also helped in designing the Indiana-class battleships.
Later, Lewis resigned and started working as Superintendent of Construction in William Cramp and Sons Shipbuilding Company. He started his own business in 1895 by leasing the Crescent Shipyard. Nixon started this new shipyard with Arthur Leopold Busch, the naval architect responsible for the development of the United States Navy's first submarines. The yard built many vessels, including USS Florida (BM-9) and USS Annapolis (PG-10). The famous USS Holland (SS-1) was one of the creations of that shipyard and is a very significant achievement in naval technology. The submarines success led to the order for more submarines of the "Holland Type" by the United States Government. These submarines became America's first fleet of underwater fighting vessels operated by the United States Navy on both coasts.
Lewis Nixon (1861-1940)