Protected cruiser Atlanta was one of the first U.S. Navy steel warships and was commissioned in July 1886, serving in the Atlantic. Part of the "New Steel Navy," Atlanta, along with the protected cruisers Boston and Chicago, and the gunboat Dolphin, became known as the ABCD ships. Along with the gunboat Yorktown, the ships were established in September 1889 as the "Squadron of the Evolution" and deployed to Europe and the Mediterranean.
Atlanta continued to serve in the North Atlantic Squadron operating in the West Indies, South American region, and the Gulf of Mexico. Placed out of commission in July 1893, she returned to duty the following year and protected American lives and property in March 1895 when threatened by political unrest at Boca del Toro, California. Later that year, she was placed out of commission at the New York Navy Yard and was laid up for the next five years. In September 1900, she was placed back in commission and joined the South Atlantic Squadron and the Caribbean Squadron.
In April 1903, Atlanta landed troops at Santo Domingo to protect American interests during unrest in the country, followed in December at Porto Bello, Panama, with similar orders. For the remaining of her service as protective cruiser, she served in the Atlantic and participated in midshipman cruises from Annapolis, Maryland. In November 1905, she was transferred to Norfolk, Virginia, where she served as a barracks ship, until transferred as such to Charleston, South Carolina. In March 1912, Atlanta was taken out of service and sold for scrapping that June.
A model of Atlanta is on display in the Great White Fleet exhibit at the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, Building 76.
Image: 19-N-16327: Protected Cruiser USS Atlanta, early 1900s, while in New York Harbor. Note State of Liberty to the left of bow. Official U.S Bureau of Ships Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.