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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.

    San Francisco Class Protected Cruiser
    Keel Laid 14 August 1888 - Launched 26 October 1889

  1. USS SAN FRANCISCO Protected Cruiser No. 5
  2. Commissioned 15 November 1890 - Decommissioned 25 October 1898
    Recommissioned 2 January 1902 - Decommissioned 31 December 1904
    Converted to Mine Layer June 1908

  3. USS SAN FRANCISCO Mine Layer No. 2
  4. Recommissioned 29 November 1911 - Decommissioned 6 June 1916
    Recommissioned 18 October 1916

  6. Designated (CM) 17 July 1920
    Decommissioned 24 December 1921

  8. Renamed while in reserve
  10. Renamed 1 January 1931 while in reserve

    Struck from Naval Register 8 June 1937
    Sold 20 April 1939 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 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. USS San Francisco Covers Page 1    (1895-1915,2003)



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

Thumbnail Link
Postmark Image
Thumbnail Link
Cover Image

1st Commissioning 15 November 1890 to 25 October 1898


Ohio CDS

Montevideo, Uruguay CDS

Washington D.C. duplex


Incoming mail to USS SAN FRANCISCO at Montevideo, Uruguay...Forwarded to Norfolk
Back stamped Montevideo February 8 1893...Rio De Janeiro, Brazil February 13...
New York January 3...Washington D.C. March 7...New York March 17...Norfolk March 19


Portsmouth N.H. duplex

Charing Cross Station

U.S. Consul London


Incoming mail to Paymaster Joseph Foster at London, forward to Kiel, Germany
Back stamped New York June 7...London June 17...Kiel June 18

3rd Commissioning 29 November 1911 to 6 June 1916


Locy Type 2


Mine Layer No. 2. From the Jim Myerson collection.


Locy Type
3 (AC)




Mine Layer No. 2. From the Jim Myerson collection.

4th Commissioning 18 October 1916 to 24 December 1921


Locy Type
3 (AC)



CM-2. From the Bob Govern collection.


Locy Type
3s (AC)




Locy Type
9v (C)


CM-2. From the Jim Myerson collection.


Other Information

USS SAN FRANCISCO earned the Navy Expeditionary Medal (4 awards), the Spanish Campaign Medal, the Mexican Service Medal and the World War I Victory Medal w/ Mine Layer Clasp during her Naval career.

NAMESAKE - Named for the city of San Francisco, CA.

The ships sponsor was Miss Edith W. Benham, daughter of Commodore Andrew E. K. Benham, Commandant, Mare Island, CA, Navy Yard.

Three ships of the US Navy have borne the name SAN FRANCISCO - USS San Francisco Cruiser No. 5, USS San Francisco CA-38 and USS San Francisco SSN-711.



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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