USS Dolphin, Rockport, circa 1900

fred_uss dolphin

The USS Dolphin (PG-24) was commissioned in 1885 as a naval dispatch vessel (there were no reliable radio communications at the time), and later became a gunship. She was the first of the ABCD ships (Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, and Dolphin), who were revolutionary steel-hulled warships for America’s “New Steel Navy.” Their masts, unlike those of later warships, were meant to carry sail, as naval officers did not trust coal-fired steam power. The ABCD vessels were transitionary: from wood to steel construction, and from wind to steam power. In fact, they were called the “Squadron of Evolution.”

During her 40 years of service in the US Navy, Dolphin fought in the Spanish American War and World War I. She transported three US Presidents, cabinet members, and also hosted the United States Congress on deck in 1909, during welcoming ceremonies for the homecoming of President Theodore Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet after its circumnavigational cruise. Incredibly, in 1888, Dolphin had made her own 18 month, 58,000 mile trip around the world. During the entire voyage, the engine was shut down for less that two hours for maintenance. Where can you get a car (or boat) like that?


Fredrik D. Bodin
Bodin Historic Photo
82 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930
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About E.J.

Artist, researcher, writer, spiritual traveler of this fascinating orb we inhabit, lover of life and all it has to offer. Hi everyone out there in GMG land. My name is Ellen “E.J.” Lefavour (a/k/a “Ejay Khan” – the pseudonym I used during my years as a political activist artist). I moved to Cape Ann in September of 2010, and was thrilled to be invited by Joey to become a daily contributor to Good Morning Gloucester in December of that year. I am a painter, photographer and writer who has lived and worked as an artist for 20 years, since leaving the corporate world in 1990 to pursue my passion. My contributions to GMG will consist of images (either my paintings, photographs, montages or the occasional video) and a little history about the image, called “Did you Know?” I hope to come up with tidbits of information that people don’t already know, or had forgotten they knew. As I am new here, everything is new and fascinating to me, especially the amazing history, so bear with me if I post something that is common knowledge – I’ll eventually come up with something that’s new to you. As an artist, I will also write about the incredible art scene on Cape Ann. Please take a minute to comment on my posts, like them or not, especially if you have corrections or something to add, as that is how I, and all of us, learn. Have a Good Morning Gloucester, and a blessed day.
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5 Responses to USS Dolphin, Rockport, circa 1900

  1. Loren Feldman says:

    Decommisioned when and dispatched of how?

  2. Marty Luster says:

    Thanks Fred.
    Do you know anything about the history of the photo? When, where and by whom?

    • This photo was taken by Rockport photographer Charles H. Cleaves, who lived at the top of Pasture Road, with a commanding view of Sandy Bay. He likely shot this from another boat. The USS Dolphin is remembered for it’s significance in US Naval warship evolution, and has been called “a brave little ship.”

  3. Hilary McKinnon says:

    Love your photos. Just a word of thanks with the hope you keep sharing these.

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