(Aux. cruiser: dp. 6,620; l. 404’9”; b. 48’3”; dr. 20’9”; s. 15 k.)
Prairie, formerly Morgan Liner S.S. El Sol, was built in 1890 by William Cramp and Sons, Philadelphia, Pa. She was purchased by the Navy 6 April 1898 from the Southern Pacific Co., and commissioned 8 April 1898 at New York, Comdr. C. J. Train in command.
Prairie was converted into an auxiliary cruiser and assigned at first to the Northern Patrol Squadron and later to the North Atlantic Fleet. During the Spanish-American War, she served in Cuban waters July and August 1898, and returned to Fore River, Mass., 28 August. She decommissioned 15 March 1899 at Philadelphia.
Prairie was placed in reserve commission 23 March 1899 and cruised with the Naval Militia off the Atlantic coast until she decommissioned at New York 18 February 1901. She carried government exhibits to France at the turn of the century for the Paris Exposition. She recommissioned at Boston 9 November 1901 as a training ship, and remained with this mission until she decommissioned at Boston 14 June 1905.
She recommissioned 26 September 1906 at Boston as a transport and was attached to the Atlantic Fleet. She protected American interests in Cuba, March to April 1907. Later she resumed her training duties with the Naval Militia from May to September 1907, July to August 1908 and July to August 1909.
Converted to a destroyer tender in late 1917, Prairie served as one during World War I.
Prairie decommissioned 22 November 1922 at San Diego, Calif., and was struck from the Navy List. She was sold 22 June 1923 to Louis Rothenberg, Oakland, Calif.