U.S. warship photo taken around 1900, location: could be Hudson River, NY

I found this photo in a relatives old photo collection. Most of the photos were taken around 1905 so I assume the ship photo was taken around that time. A lot of the photos were taken in upstate NY around the Hudson River Valley.

  • 1
    Well, that's definitely a US flag.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 23:35
  • 2
    Looking at the pages linked off of en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… , it looks like a "Pennsylvania" or "Tennessee" class armored cruiser (ACR-4 thru ACR-9, and ACR-10 thru ACR-14, respectively). The 4 stacks are distinctive, but the quality of photos (yours and Wikipedia's) is too poor for me to make a precise match. Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 0:04
  • ...Or maybe a scout cruiser of the St Louis class, as illustrated on navsource.org/archives/04/c20/c20.htm and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_St._Louis_(C-20) . Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 0:13
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    @Mark Maybe: my eyes are bad. By "front" do you mean the end at the left, closest to the photographer? I read that as the stern. Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 1:28
  • 3
    I agree with @Kimchi: The ship is sailing away from us.
    – Spencer
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 1:59

2 Answers 2


It's a stern view of a Pennsylvania-class or Tennessee-class armored cruiser, photographed sometime prior to 1912. Distinguishing features:

  • An American flag.
  • Four stacks. Most early US Navy cruisers had one to three stacks.
  • A twin-gun turret. This distinguishes it from the St. Louis-class cruisers, which had only only casemate guns, and from the Columbia-class cruisers, which had single-gun turrets.
  • Solid masts. In the 1911-1912 timeframe, the Pennsylvania and Tennessee cruisers were refitted with lattice masts to reduce weight.

If the photograph is from 1905, then the ship is one of USS Pennsylvania, USS West Virginia, USS Colorado, or USS Maryland, as the other ships of those two classes were commissioned in the 1906-1908 timeframe. There's a decent chance that it's the USS West Virginia, since that ship served with the New York Naval Militia.

  • 1
    Although it's impossible to make out the actual letters in the ship's name painted on the stern, they do extend for quite a long way and put me in the mind of "INIA".
    – Spencer
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 2:07
  • The masts, lifeboat arrangement, and stern porthole arrangement all appear to match the Pennsylvania-class cruisers much better than the Tennessee-class cruisers. Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 7:20
  • Agreed, Pieter. Looking at my trusty 1905 Janes, this ship is assuredly one of the Pennsylvania class.
    – R Leonard
    Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 13:05

An attempt at an answer as a guest, because I do not have an account, so cannot comment, and may have spotted a couple details in passing.

Feel free to delete this answer and just add to Mark's

Mark as provided the evidence for a Pennsylvania or Tennessee class cruiser. On Wikipedia, the picture for the Pennsylvania shows 4 casemate guns on the upper deck, and the picture for the Tennessee 5 casemate guns.

The ship in the question as 4 casemate guns on her upper deck, not 5. Also, the difference in hue between the hull and the upper works would match the colors on the Pennsylvania picture.

Therefore, I would wager she is a Pennsylvania class, not a Tennessee.

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