Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

USS Kearsarge (BB-5, later Crane Ship No.1), 1900-1955

The lead ship of a two-ship battleship class, USS Kearsarge (Battleship #5), was commissioned on February 20, 1900, at Newport News, Virginia.   Serving most of her time as the flagship of the North Atlantic Squadron for the next eight years, she operated off the eastern coast of the United States and in the Caribbean.  She was also detailed in 1903 and 1904 to be the European Squadron flagship.    On April 13, 1906, tragedy struck Kearsarge when a turret fire took the lives of ten officers and men.   In December 1907, she departed with the Great White Fleet for a world cruise and returned in February 1909 to the United States.   Decommissioned in September for moderninzation, she would occassionally be operational for the next few years, serving off Mexico in 1915-16 and assigned as an armed guard and engineering training ship along the east coast during World War I.   After the war, Kearsarge was utilized to train Naval Academy midshipmen and was decommissioned in May 1920 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania.   Converted to a heavy-lift crane ship, she was redesignated AB-1 in 1939, then renamed Crane Ship No.1 in 1941, handling heavy loads for the Navy until sold in August 1955 for scrapping. 

A model of Kearsarge can be found in the Great White Fleet section at the National Museum of the U.S. Navy.   

Image:  NH 52034:  USS Kearsarge (Battleship #5), early 1900s.  NHHC Photograph Collection.