Shortly after World War I, construction began on a series of buildings that became the U.S. Naval Torpedo Station. For the next five years, torpedoes were made and maintained at this facility. In 1945, production at the Torpedo Factory halted, and the buildings became a government storage facility. In 1969, the city of Alexandria bought the buildings and renovated them into working studio spaces for artists and craftspeople. Today, it is one of the largest and most successful visual arts centers in the country. Visitors can see the artists at work and purchase display pieces.