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Blue Ridge

The name given to the eastern and southeastern ranges of the Appalachian Mountains that extend south from a point near Harper’s Ferry, W. Va., across Virginia and North Carolina into northern Georgia.


(ScStr: t. 1,606 (gross); l. 270'; b. 38.3'; dr. 14' (aft); s. 16.5 k.; cpl. 87)

The first Blue Ridge (Id. No. 2432)--a screw steamer constructed in 1891 at Cleveland, Ohio, by the Globe Iron Works as Virginia--was purchased by the Navy from the Goodrich Transit Co. at Great Lakes, Ill., on 19 April 1918; renamed Blue Ridge on 1 June 1918; and commissioned at Manitowoc, Wis., on 17 October 1918, Lt. Comdr. Edward S. Ells, USNRF, in command.

Blue Ridge was then cut in half after commissioning so that she might be towed through the Great Lakes to the Atlantic. She departed Manitowoc on 15 November 1918, four days after the armistice ended World War I, and arrived at the Boston Navy Yard on 28 December to begin repairs and conversion. The ship remained at Boston--probably undergoing little or no work since the end of the war had obviated her service--until the summer of 1919. Blue Ridge was renamed Avalon on 18 August 1919 and, three days later, was delivered to her purchaser, the Edward P. Farley Co., of Chicago, Ill.

Her fate immediately following the sale remains somewhat of a mystery. The American Bureau of Shipping Record indicates that, by 1921, she was operating out of Duluth, Minn., on the Great Lakes. By the following year, she was on the west coast at Los Angeles, Calif., making the passenger run between Wilmington and Avalon on Catalina Island. She served in that capacity until laid up at Catalina Island Terminal, Wilmington, Calif., on 2 February 1951. Ulimately, she was destroyed by fire at Long Beach, Calif., on 18 July 1960.

Raymond A. Mann

27 January 2006