USS Boston (1884)
USS Boston in 1891
|Ordered:||23 July 1883|
|Builder:||John Roach & Sons, Chester, Pennsylvania|
|Launched:||4 December 1884|
|Commissioned:||2 May 1887|
|Decommissioned:||4 November 1893|
|Recommissioned:||15 November 1895|
|Decommissioned:||15 September 1899|
|Recommissioned:||11 August 1902|
|Decommissioned:||10 June 1907|
|Recommissioned:||18 June 1918|
|Fate:||Scuttled 8 April 1946|
|Notes:||On loan to Oregon Naval Militia 15 June 1911-September 1916
On loan to United States Shipping Board 24 May 1917 – June 1918
|Length:||283 ft (86 m)|
|Beam:||42 ft (12.8 m)|
|Draft:||17 ft (5.2 m)|
|Speed:||13 knots (24 km/h)|
|Complement:||284 officers and men|
|Armament:||2 × 8-inch (203 mm)
6 × 6-inch (152 mm)
|Notes:||One of the U.S. Navy's first four steel ships|
Boston, being the second cruiser of the New Navy completed, was not ready for active service until 1888. She then made a cruise to Guatemala and Haiti to protect American citizens. She joined the Squadron of Evolution 30 September 1889 and cruised to the Mediterranean and South America (7 December 1889 – 29 July 1890), and along the east coast in 1891. Boston departed New York 24 October 1891 for the Pacific via Cape Horn, arriving at San Francisco 2 May 1892. Except for a prospective commanding officer's cruise to the Hawaiian Islands (11 August 1892 – 10 October 1893) in which it provided a shore party in January 1893 that bolstered the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, she remained on the west coast until laid up at Mare Island Navy Yard 4 November 1893.
Recommissioned 15 November 1895, Boston joined the Asiatic Squadron at Yokohama, Japan, 25 February 1896. She remained in the Orient protecting American interests for the next four years and during the Spanish-American War took part in the Battle of Manila Bay (1 May 1898) and the capture of Manila (13 August 1898). She remained in the Philippines assisting in their pacification until 8 June 1899.
Boston returned to San Francisco 9 August 1899 and went out of commission at Mare Island Navy Yard 15 September 1899. She remained out of commission until 11 August 1902 and then rejoined the Pacific Squadron. During 16–25 June 1905 she helped represent the Navy at the Lewis and Clark Exposition at Portland, Oregon, and between 23 April and 10 May 1906 she helped care for the victims of the San Francisco earthquake and fire. She went out of commission again at Puget Sound Navy Yard 10 June 1907.
From 15 June 1911 to September 1916, she served as a training vessel with the Oregon Naval Militia and was loaned to the United States Shipping Board (24 May 1917 – June 1918). The Boston was converted to a freighter by Seattle Construction & Dry Dock in 1917/18. Her guns were most likely removed when she was laid up at Bremerton between 09-16 and 03-17. On 18 June 1918, she was recommissioned at Mare Island Navy Yard as a receiving ship and towed to Yerba Buena Island, California, where she served as a receiving ship until 1946. She was renamed USS Despatch, the sixth U.S. Navy ship to bear that name, on 9 August 1940, thus freeing her original name for use on the new heavy cruiser Boston (CA-69). The old ship was reclassified IX-2, 17 February 1941.
Despatch was towed to sea and sunk off San Francisco 8 April 1946.
Two of Boston's 8-inch (203-mm) guns were placed at the new Seattle Naval Hospital in 1942. After the hospital closed the guns went with the site to the new Firlands Sanitarium owned by King County in 1947. At some point after 1952 the guns were moved to Hamlin Park, in Shoreline, Washington. However, county records do not indicate when the guns were placed in the park or why it was done.
The Boston/Despatch earned the following awards in her career spanning six decades –
- Navy Expeditionary Medal (two awards)
- Battle of Manila Bay Medal (aka Dewey Medal)
- Spanish Campaign Medal
- World War I Victory Medal
- American Defense Service Medal
- American Campaign Medal
- World War II Victory Medal
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