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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • BRITISH COLUMBIA VACATION-LAND: 1950s

Great White: 1900

Great  White: 1900

Boston circa 1900. "Battleship U.S.S. Kearsarge from astern." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

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Grandpa's ship

My Grandfather was an immigrant from Britain. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1900, at Marine Barracks, 8th & I, Washington, DC. He was 15 years old (his Mom had to sign for him). His rank at the time was "Applicant". 6 months later he was promoted to the rank of "Boy". He later advanced to Drummer and then Trumpeter. Sailed in the Kearsarge on it's trip around the world. Retired in 1929 with the rank of Sergeant Major.

Battleship names

By tradition dating back to the 1890s, US Navy battleships were always named after states (for example, USS Maine). Well, almost always. The battleship USS Kearsarge shown here broke this tradition by being named after the famous Civil War-era sloop-of-war of the same name that sank the Confederate raider CSS Alabama in 1864.

The battleship Kearsarge was laid down by the Newport News Shipbuilding Company of Virginia, on 30 June 1896. She was part of Teddy Roosevelt's famous Great White Fleet of 1907-1908, then served as a battleship and training ship through World War I, only to be converted into a crane ship in 1920. She was finally sold for scrap in 1955.

USS Kearsarge BB-5

If the USS Kearsarge (BB-5) was commissioned in February 1900, this must be some time after that. This is possibly a shakedown cruise. Looking at all the civilians on deck this stop in Boston was so the Navy can show off their new ship. This battleship was the second of four ships to carry the Kearsarge name.

Construction cost was just over $5 mil and took almost 4 years from laying the keel to commissioning. There appear to be at least seven tug boats tied up along side. Must have taken a lot of muscle to move that behemoth around.

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