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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.

    Houston Class Cargo Ship
    Keel Laid 1903 as "SS LIEBENFELS"
    Launched 11 April 1903

  1. SS LIEBENFELS (Commercial Service)
    Operated by the Hansa Line of Germany
    Laid up August 1914 at the outbreak of WWI at Charleston, S.C. by the U.S. Government
    Scuttled and abandoned by her crew 1 February 1917
    Raised 20 March 1917 and entered Charleston Navy Yard for conversion to Naval service

  2. USS HOUSTON (Cargo Ship)
  3. Commissioned 3 July 1917

  5. Designated Cargo Ship (AK) 17 July 1920
    Decommissioned 23 March 1922
    Struck from Naval Register (Date unknown)

  6. SS NORTH KING (Commercial Service)
    Sold 27 September 1922
    Renamed in 1923
    Sold to Campania Diana de Vapores S.A., Panama (Date unknown)
    Chartered by War Shipping Administration 30 December 1941
    Transferred to United States Lines Co. for operation 30 December 1941
    Returned to Campania Diana de Vapores S.A. 26 February 1946

    Sold 1958 for scrap

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 name of the ship (for example, Bushnell AG-32 / Sumner AGS-5 are different names for the same ship so there should be one set of pages for Bushnell and one set for Sumner). 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. USS Houston AK-1 Covers Page 1     (DATE RANGE)



This section lists examples of the postmarks used by the ship. There should be a separate set of postmarks for each name and/or commissioning period. 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

Thumbnail Link
Postmark Image
Thumbnail Link
Cover Image


Flag Cancel

Philadelphia PA


Censored, Official Mail. From the Bill Wladyka collection.


Other Information

USS Houston earned the World War I Victory Medal w/ Transport clasp and the Yangtze Service Medal during her Naval career.

NAMESAKE - Named for the city of Houston, Texas. Four ships of the US Navy have borne the name HOUSTON - USS Houston AK-1, USS Houston CA-30, USS Houston CL-81 and USS Houston SSN-713.



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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