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Hygeia Hotel: 1895

Hygeia Hotel: 1895

Hampton Roads, Virginia, circa 1895. "Boat landing at Old Point Comfort and Hygeia Hotel." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative. View full size.


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Further About Those Ships

The ship on the right could be the gunboat USS Petrel. The funnel and rigging seem to match. If that's the case, it would put the picture a bit earlier, as she was reassigned to the Asiatic Squadron (Hong Kong) in 1891.

Hygienic Hygeia

Note the spray of droplets emanating from the sprinkler bar on the tank watering the road.

Quite the Hotel

Want an inside look?

Also About Those Ships

I think Atlanta is indeed the most likely suspect. According to The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships the Olympia was built in San Francisco at Union Iron Works, commissioning on 5 February, 1895. She left Mare Island on 25 August, 1895 to join the Asiatic Fleet. Boston was at Mare Island from 7 October, 1893 until 10 January, 1896 when she too departed for the Far East. That seems to leave Atlanta to be the ship as she spent her time in the North Atlantic Squadron.

Razed by the Feds

This, the second Hygeia Hotel, was torn down in 1902 after the feds took the land back. Its neighbor, the Chamberlin Hotel, did however burn to the ground in 1920 and was replaced by the massive brick pile which still stands.

About those ships

In my most humble opinion, I believe the ship on the left is either Atlanta or Boston (same class), the one in the middle either the Philadelphia or San Francisco (same class) while the elusive ship on the right could be the Chicago.

At first I thought the one on the left was Olympia, but the funnels are not quite right, nor the masts. It is maddening, there is just enough visible to make you sure you don´t know for sure.

One year 'til Utah

Dave is right about the number of stars---two rows of eight and four rows of seven---44. Utah became Number 45 in 1896.

The Question Every Shorpyite is Asking

When did it burn down?

USS Olympia

I do believe that that would by the USS Olympia in the background given the twin masts and double smokestacks and the year, as the USS Boston, USS Kearsarge were not part of the fleet until 1898.

Flag detail

Forty eight stars showing on the high flying flag. Still years out in 1895.

[You're counting wrong. - Dave]

Oops! I tried short cut: six down times eight across top. Me bad.

[Eight across the top, eight across the bottom, and four rows of seven. - Dave]

"New Navy" Ships

Like today, Hampton Roads was a major naval base in 1895. Some of the ships in the background are recognizably some of the steel vessels built to modernize the Navy at the end of the 1880's.

The brig-rigged vessel at the left is almost certainly of the Atlanta class. The schooner-rigged 2-stacker in the middle is the San Francisco. These can be identified from drawings on Pages 18 and 27 of Friedman's "US Cruisers: an Illustrated Design History."

The Atlanta class of 3 ships was commissioned from 1886 to 1889, while San Francisco was commissioned in 1890.

The vessel on the right seems not to match anything in the book; she appears to be barkentine rigged. I'm open to suggestions.

All these Navy ships have the period appropriate paints scheme of white topsides and buff superstructures -- of course we can't tell that from this black and white image.

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