USS Omaha History Photos

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The USS Omaha was stationed at Angel Island from 1895 to 1914 as a quarantine ship.  She housed sailors, passengers and immigrants suspected of carrying infectious diseases.  Her service at Angel Island predates the Immigration Station.  Superheated steam from her boilers was also used to disinfect ships, cargos, and buildings at the Quarantine Station in Ayala Cove (formerly Hospital Cove).

The Omaha at anchor in Ayala Cove.  Most of the buildings shown above were removed when the Army surrendered the Island to the Park Service.

The old Omaha in the background is being passed by the new hi-tech Ohio on her sea trials in 1904.

Note the cropped masts and pitched-roof structure added to the deck (above), as compared to the original rig and flat deck (below).

 

The Omaha had once been a first rate warship with powerful steam engines and a full sailing rig; she was commissioned in 1872, soon after the Civil War.  She was known as a "sloop of war."   In military terminology sloop means a smaller warship, rather than the yachting term which means one mast and a single foresail.   "Smaller" is a relative term; although she was called a sloop, she was physically larger than the Civil War frigates, but carried fewer guns.  Her mission was to protect and promote U.S. commercial interests around the world; a wooden cruiser.  Since our Navy did not yet have coaling stations around the world, it was important to conserve coal by the use of sails.  At this time our Navy did not yet have battleships in the modern sense, but had cruisers like the Omaha and heavily armored big-gun coastal defense ships based on the Civil War Monitor -- short and stout floating forts.  The USS Ohio shown above and below is an excellent example of our first generation battleships.

 

The Omaha was sold for scrap in 1915 after 43 years of service.  The Ohio was sold for scrap in 1922 after only 18 years of service, many of them as a training ship.

 

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