The Fargo-class cruisers were a modified version of the previous Cleveland-classcruiser design; the main difference was a more compact pyramidal superstructure with single trunked funnel, intended to improve the arcs of fire of the anti-aircraft (AA) guns. The same type of modification differentiated the Baltimore and Oregon City classes of heavy cruisers. Changes were made to order to reduce the instability of the Cleveland-class light cruisers, especially their tendency to roll dangerously. The main battery turrets sat about a foot lower and the wing gunhouses (the 5 inch, twin gun mounts on the sides of the ship) were lowered to the main deck. The medium (40 mm) anti-aircraft mounts were also lowered.
In all, 13 ships of the class were planned but only Fargo and Huntington were ever completed, the rest being cancelled at varying states of completion with the de-escalation of World War II.
Fargo, the lead ship of the class, was launched on 25 February 1945, but was not commissioned until 9 December 1945, shortly after the war ended. Huntington was commissioned early in 1946. The two ships were decommissioned in 1949-1950, and never reactivated.