The capital city of Colorado.
(Cruiser No. 14: displacement 3,200; length 308'10"; beam 44'; draft 15'9"; speed 16 knots; complement 339; armament 10 5-inch, 8 6-pounders, 2 1-pounders, four .30-caliber machine guns; class Denver)
The first Denver (Cruiser No. 14) was laid down on 28 June 1900 at Philadelphia, Pa., by the Neafie & Levy Co.; launched on 21 June 1902; sponsored by Miss R. W. Wright, daughter of the mayor of Denver; and commissioned on 17 May 1904, Cmdr. Joseph B. Murdock in command.
Between 15 and 26 July 1904, Denver visited Galveston, Tex., where she received a gift of silver service from the people of Denver. She cruised in the Caribbean, investigating disturbances in Haiti, then returned to Philadelphia on 1 October. During the next two and a half years she operated off the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean, joining in target practice and other exercises, and protecting American interests in the West Indies. Highlights of this period of her service included her participation, at Annapolis, between 19 and 27 April 1906 in the interment ceremonies for John Paul Jones at the Naval Academy; a midshipman training cruise to Madeira and the Azores in the summer of 1906; and the Fleet Review off Oyster Bay, Long Island, by President Theodore Roosevelt in September 1906.
The cruiser sailed from Tompkinsville, N.Y., on 18 May 1907 for duty with the U.S. Asiatic Fleet in the Philippines, sailing through the Mediterranean and Suez Canal to Cavite, where she arrived 1 August. Denver visited ports in China, Manchuria, and Japan, and joined in the regular exercise schedule of the fleet until 1 January 1910, when she cleared Cavite for Mare Island. Arriving there on 15 February, she was placed out of commission on 12 March, placed in reserve commission on 4 January 1912, and placed in full commission on 15 July 1912, Lt. Allen B. Reed in command, for service in the Pacific.
For the next five years, Denver operated off the west coast from San Francisco to the Canal Zone, patrolling the coasts of Nicaragua and Mexico to investigate and prevent threats to the lives and property of Americans during political disturbances, carrying stores and mail, evacuating refugees, and continuing the schedule of exercises which kept her ready for action. Between 6 December 1916 and 30 March 1917 she surveyed the Gulf of Fonseca on the coast of Nicaragua, and on 10 April arrived at Key West for patrol duty off the Bahamas and between Key West and Cuba, four days after the United States’ entry into World War I.
Denver reported at New York 22 July 1917 for duty escorting merchant convoys out of New York and Norfolk to a mid-ocean meeting point where destroyers took over the task of convoying men and troops to ports in England and France. Before the close of World War I, Denver made eight such voyages, then was detached 5 December 1918 to patrol the east coast of South America, returning to New York 4 June 1919. She was reclassified as a gunboat, PG 28, on 17 July 1920. Between 7 July 1919 and 27 September 1921, she voyaged from New York to San Francisco, serving in the Canal Zone and on the coasts of Central America both outward and homeward bound. During that time, on 8 August 1921, she was reclassified again, as a light cruiser, CL 16.
In the summer of 1922, Denver carried the President of Liberia home to Monrovia from a visit in the United States, returning to Boston by way of the Canal Zone. On 9 October 1922, she returned to the Canal Zone for eight years of service based at Cristobal. She patrolled both coasts of Central America, protecting American interests, transporting various official parties, and paying courtesy calls, returning periodically to Boston for overhaul. Between 20 November and 18 December 1922, she carried relief supplies to earthquake and tidal wave victims in Chile. Between November 1925 and June 1926 she served the Special Commission on Boundaries, Tacna-Arica Arbitration group, carrying dignitaries from Chile to the United States or the Canal Zone on two voyages.
Denver’s last ceremonial function was her participation in the ceremonies held at Havana (14-19 February 1929) to commemorate the sinking of Maine. She returned to Philadelphia on Christmas Day, 25 December, 1930, and was decommissioned there 14 February 1931.
Stricken on 12 March 1931, ex-Denver was sold on 13 September 1933 to Northern Metal Co., Inc., Pier 64, South, Philadelphia, for $15,680.00, and disposed-of in accordance with the London Treaty.
[Detailed history under construction]