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Ship Name and Designation History

This section lists the names and designations that the ship had during its lifetime. The list is in chronological order.

    Chicago Class Protected Cruiser
    Keel Laid December 29 1883 - Launched December 5 1885

  1. USS CHICAGO Protected Cruiser
    Commissioned April 17 1889 - Decommissioned May 1 1895
    Recommissioned December 1 1889 - Decommissioned December 3 1903
    Recommissioned August 15 1904 - Decommissioned August 27 1908
    Recommissioned In Reserve May 1908
    Assigned to Naval Academy Practice Squadron August 27 1908
    Recommissioned (Full) August 28 1908 - Decommissioned May 13 1909
    Recommissioned In Reserve May 14 1909
    Assigned to Naval Academy Practice Squadron
    Decommissioned January 14 1910
    Recommissioned In Reserve January 23 1910
    Assigned to Massachusetts Naval Militia April 12 1916
    Recommissioned In Reserve April 26 1916
    Assigned to Pennsylvania Naval Militia April 5 1917
    Recommissioned (Full) April 6 1917

    Designated (CA) July 17 1920

    Reclassified Light Cruiser (CL) August 8 1921
    Decommissioned September 30 1923
    Served as Barracks Ship for Pearl Harbor until 1935
    Reclassified and renamed Miscellaneous Unclassified ALTON IX-5 July 16 1928, While in reserve

    Sold May 15 1936
    Foundered and sank in mid-Pacific July 1936 while being towed from Honolulu to San Francisco


Naval Covers

This section lists active links to the pages displaying covers associated with the ship. There should be a separate set of pages for each incarnation of the ship (ie, for each entry in the "Ship Name and Designation History" section). Covers should be presented in chronological order (or as best as can be determined).

Since a ship may have many covers, they may be split among many pages so it doesn't take forever for the pages to load. Each page link should be accompanied by a date range for covers on that page.

  1. Covers Page 1     (1909-21)



This section lists examples of the postmarks used by the ship. There should be a separate set of postmarks for each incarnation of the ship (ie, for each entry in the "Ship Name and Designation History" section). Within each set, the postmarks should be listed in order of their classification type. If more than one postmark has the same classification, then they should be further sorted by date of earliest known usage.

A postmark should not be included unless accompanied by a close-up image and/or an image of a cover showing that postmark. Date ranges MUST be based ONLY ON COVERS IN THE MUSEUM and are expected to change as more covers are added.
>>> If you have a better example for any of the postmarks, please feel free to replace the existing example.


Postmark Type
Killer Bar Text

Date From
Date To
Thumbnail Link To
Postmark Image
Thumbnail Link To
Cover Image

Post Office Established April 19 1909 - Disestablished 1909


Locy Type


As Protected Cruiser
Sailor's Mail


Locy Type


As Protected Cruiser
Picture postcard of a Steamer at Richmond, ME

Post Office Reestablished 1912 - Disestablished 1913

Post Office Reestablished 1917 - Disestablished October 6 1919


Locy Type


As Protected Cruiser
Official Business


Locy Type
3 (AC)

"{Unreadable} / C.O.POST.N.Y."


As Protected Cruiser
Sailor's Mail, passed by censor.
Owner's note - "Postmark looks like Type 3b (AC-XXO) and top killer is possibly "U.S.S. CHICAGO"


Locy Type
3 (AC)


As Protected Cruiser


Locy Type P
(SUBDIV 14 T-3,
"USS/CHICAGO" in killers)


As CL-14


Other Information

Notable highlights -
Flagship - Squadron of Evolution / North Atlantic Squadron 12/21/1889 - 05/31/1893
Participent - International Naval Review 1893
Flagship - European Station 1893-1895
Participent - Naval Parade/Dewey Celebration 1899
Flagship - South Atlantic Squadron 1899-1901
Flagship - European Station 1901-1903
Participent - Presidential Review 1903
Flagship - Pacific Station 1905-1908
Humanitarian Service - Evacuated 20,000 refugees of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake
Flagship - Submarine Force, Atlantic 1917-1919
Flagship - Cruiser Division 2, Pacific 1919
Other Service - Submarine Division 14 as a tender at Mare Island, CA and Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, T.H. 1919-1923
Famous Ship Captain - Commander Chester W. Nimitz 07/1920 - 04/1922. He was Aide and later Chief of Staff to Commander, Submarine Force, Atlantic and rose to the rank of Fleet Admiral WWII

NAMESAKE - Named for the city of Chicago, Illinois.

Four United States Navy ships have been named Chicago, USS Chicago IX-5, USS Chicago CA-29, USS Chicago CG-11 and USS Chicago SSN-721.



If you have images or information to add to this page, then either contact the Curator or edit this page yourself and add it. See Editing Ship Pages for detailed information on editing this page.


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