Return to Naval Historical Center home page. Return to Online Library listing

DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Photo # NH 105499:  USS Floridian in 1919

Online Library of Selected Images:
-- U.S. NAVY SHIP TYPES --

WORLD WAR I ERA TRANSPORTS --
Converted Freighters of American-Hawaiian Steamship Company Types

Thirteen of the U.S. Navy's WWI era transports were converted from freighters originally constructed for the American-Hawaiian Steamship Company, or built to a design typical of that firm's ships. These had flush deck hulls, low superstructures and a single tall smokestack, making them relatively easy to distinguish from freighters employed by other companies. Two of them, built early in the Twentieth Century with split superstructures, are visually different from the other eleven. The latter were all quite similar in appearance, With one exception, these ships had the "state or country resident" names for which the American-Hawaiian Steamship Company was well-known.

Ten of these ships entered U.S. Navy service in 1917 and 1918, operating as cargo ships or animal transports until after the 11 November 1918 Armistice. They were then modified for troop transport duties, with externally visible additions including portholes in hull sides and temporary houses installed on the weather deck. The other three ships were commissioned as transports, and did not not have wartime Navy service.

This page features a table (with links to individual ships) of World War I era U.S. Navy transports converted from freighters built for the American-Hawaiian Steamship Company, or of a design similar to that company's ships, plus one photograph of each ship in this group.


Click each ship name to access that ship's complete Online Library entry.

Click the small photographs to prompt a larger view of the same image, and the words "Picture Data" to access the Picture Data Sheet for that image.


Ships in this group:

THIRTEEN SHIPS, all having single tall smokestacks and flush-deck hulls with small bulwarks (of differing shapes) at the bow. They have counter sterns and relatively low superstructures.
==> Two of the ships have split superstructures, with a hatch and kingposts between the bridge and stack, which is reflected in the "M-K-KF-K-M" coding of their masts, kingposts and smokestack arrangement.
==> The other eleven ships have identical "M-K-F-K-M" arrangements, but other details help separate ships constructed at different times by different builders.
==> In addition, in pictures taken during their service as Navy transports, these ships can sometimes be distinguished by their differing arrangements of temporary deckhouses, mast lookout positions and other features.


Arrangement of kingposts, masts and smokestacks (funnels): M-K-KF-K-M:

Two ships, built by the Union Iron Works at San Francisco, California, in 1902. Their dimensions and appearance indicate that they were of the same design. Both had split superstructures.
These two vessels served as U.S. Navy cargo ships before conversion to transports.
  • Alaskan, USN 1918-1919 (ex-American S.S. Alaskan, 1902).
    8672 Gross Tons; Length 470.1'; Breadth 57.2'
  • Arizonan, USN 1918-1919 (ex-American S.S. Arizonan, 1902).
    8672 Gross Tons; Length 470.1'; Breadth 57.2'

     USS Alaskan, 1919:

    Picture Data

     USS Arizonan, 1919:

    Picture Data



    Arrangement of kingposts, masts and smokestacks (funnels): M-K-F-K-M:

    Two ships, built by the Union Iron Works at San Francisco, California, in 1907 and by the New York Ship Building Company at Camden, New Jersey in 1902. Their dimensions are quite similar, though builders and construction years are different.
    Both of these vessels were U.S. Navy cargo ships before conversion to transports.
  • Mexican, USN 1917-1919 (ex-American S.S. Mexican, 1907).
    8673 Gross Tons; Length 472.3'; Breadth 57.2'
  • Texan, USN 1918-1919 (ex-American S.S. Texan, 1902).
    8615 Gross Tons; Length 471.0'; Breadth 57.2'

     USS Mexican, 1919:

    Picture Data

     USS Texan, 1919:

    Picture Data



    Arrangement of kingposts, masts and smokestacks (funnels): M-K-F-K-M:

    Six ships, built by the Maryland Steel Company at Sparrows Point, Maryland, in 1912-1914. Length and breadth are identical.
    All but one of these vessels were U.S. Navy cargo ships before conversion to transports.
  • Dakotan, USN 1919-1919 (ex-American S.S. Dakotan, 1912).
    6657 Gross Tons; Length 407.7'; Breadth 53.7'
  • Minnesotan, USN 1918-1919 (ex-American S.S. Minnesotan, 1912).
    6649 Gross Tons; Length 407.7'; Breadth 53.7'
  • Panaman, USN 1918-1919 (ex-American S.S. Panaman, 1913).
    6655 Gross Tons; Length 407.7'; Breadth 53.7'
  • Scranton, USN 1918-1919 (ex-American S.S. Pennsylvanian, 1913).
    6655 Gross Tons; Length 407.7'; Breadth 53.7'
  • Iowan, USN 1917-1919 (ex-American S.S. Iowan, 1914).
    6649 Gross Tons; Length 407.7'; Breadth 53.7'
  • Ohioan, USN 1918-1919 (ex-American S.S. Ohioan, 1914).
    6646 Gross Tons; Length 407.7'; Breadth 53.7'

     USS Dakotan, 1919:

    Picture Data

     USS Minnesotan, 1919:

    Picture Data

     USS Panaman, 1919:


    Picture Data

     USS Scranton, 1919:

    Picture Data

     USS Iowan, 1919:

    Picture Data

     USS Ohioan, 1919:

    Picture Data



    Arrangement of kingposts, masts and smokestacks (funnels): M-K-F-K-M:

    Three ships, built by the Maryland Steel Company/Bethlehem Steel Company at Sparrows Point, Maryland, in 1910-1918. These ships are of the same breadth as the six listed immediately above, but are somewhat longer. Despite the eight-year spread of construction dates, they may be of the same, or very similar, design.
    Only one of these vessels was a U.S. Navy cargo ships before conversion to transports.
  • Kentuckian, USN 1919-1919 (ex-American S.S. Kentuckian, 1910).
    6582 Gross Tons; Length 414.4'; Breadth 53.7'
  • Floridian, USN 1919-1919 (ex-American S.S. Floridian, 1915).
    6930 Gross Tons; Length 415.0'; Breadth 53.7'
  • Cape May, USN 1918-1919 (ex-American S.S. Cape May, 1918).
    6867 Gross Tons; Length 415.0'; Breadth 53.7'
    Cape May looks like an American-Hawaiian S.S. Co. freighter, but had different owners.

     USS Kentuckian, 1919:

    Picture Data

     USS Floridian, 1919:

    Picture Data

     USS Cape May, 1918:

    Picture Data


    Note: Another American-Hawaiian Steamship Company freighter also served as a U.S. Navy Transport. However, her appearance was significantly different from the ships listed above. Accordingly, USS Virginian is treated in the Miscellaneous and Unidentified Types section of this presentation.



    If you want higher resolution reproductions than the digital images presented here, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."


    Return to Naval Historical Center home page.

    Page made 25 March 2007
    New image added 10 May 2008