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U.S.S. Franklin: 1916

1916. "U.S.S. Franklin, used as training ship. Admiral Farragut's flagship." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

1916. "U.S.S. Franklin, used as training ship. Admiral Farragut's flagship." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.


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Just a little more canvas

The old gal must've been a real leaker by then also. I'll surmise that canvas underneath her hull must run from stern to stem!

Like an iceberg

There is more below the waterline than you think.

Topheavy to say the least...

How much ballast must be in the hold to keep her from rolling over? I wish my Grandfather were alive to comment!

U.S.S. Constitution

It was quite common to use aging wooden ships as receiving ships. They'd build a barracks structure on top of the original hull and new recruits or men returning from a voyage whose ships were undergoing refit would be housed aboard. It was cheaper than buying land and building barracks. A similar thing was done with the USS Constitution and lasted until 1905.

A Ship Shop

The Franklin was a receiving ship at the Naval Training Station near Norfolk, Virginia, and also housed some shops that served the whole station. My grandfather's duty station was on the Franklin after he returned from a trip around the world on the USS Louisiana with the Great White Fleet in 1909 -- must have been quite a letdown.

We have a newspaper clipping about my grandfather's shop on the USS Franklin from sometime between 1909 and 1915:

Since the station first started there has been a busily humming shop where navy trousers and torn jumpers are mended and made whole again. A very small charge is made for the tailoring of uniforms and chief Doyle's ready good humor is known all over the station. The clever fingers of his crew of skilled workmen have saved many a sailor from expending his pay for a new outfit when it could be made whole again by a bit of mending.

Hidden majesty

I'm sure any admiral would be impressed when told that this . . ship . . was to carry his flag.

Flying Dutchman

This isn't the USS Franklin. It's the Flying Dutchman from the Bermuda Triangle!

So it's a training ship, huh?

I can't even imagine what anyone assigned to this floating rowhouse would be training for, unless the Navy was trying to get involved in selling siding door-to-door.

Next stop Cozumel

No much worst aesthetically than the overgrown, topheavy cruise ships that prowl the seas these days.

Tattered sails

Aye me mateys, the years have not been kind to the old frigate.

I've heard of houseboats...

But apartmentboats and officeblockboats are a new one to me.

Full Speed In All Directions!

Or, none. This ship appears to be a refugee from some H.P. Lovecraft imaginary universe, where everything is just a little off-kilter. Just enough to be nightmarishly disturbing...

Stuff Happens

Isn't that "porch" actually a poop deck?

Down to the Sea in Bungalows

Wow. The ultimate Sausalito summer place. Perhaps the only thing to add here is an image of the USS Franklin as she appeared when still in active service.

First words to my mind?

What a monstrosity!

Ancient Mariner

That is some crazy houseboat! The old bit underneath, with the elaborate carving under the "porch," is amazing.

Ahoy, super...

That thing looks like the Admiral got lost in a fog and rammed a tenement.

The Floating Apartment House

This picture is what my imagination would come up with if I were to wonder what an apartment house would look like at sea. I'm sure there is a logical explanation, but I like the Dali sensibility of it.

The Franklin

According to Donald Canney in "The Old Steam Navy" Vol. 1, the Franklin was begun in 1853 at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, and completed at a leisurely pace, being launched in 1864. The last traditional frigate with broadside guns on two decks, she could steam at 10¼ knots, but of course had a full ship rig in her prime. She was active from 1867 to 1877, when she became a receiving ship at Norfolk. She was sold in October 1915, so they could have been preparing to scrap the venerable ship in this photo, in Norfolk or elsewhere.

Two By Two

It looks like Noah's Ark collided with a beach house.

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