Title: USS Oregon in dry dock, Brooklyn Navy Yard
Date: 1898 Aug.-Oct
Photographer: Detroit Publishing Company
USS Oregon (BB-3) was a pre-dreadnought Indiana-class battleship of the United States Navy. Her construction was authorized on 30 June 1890, and the contract to build her was awarded to Union Iron Works of San Francisco, California on 19 November 1890. Her keel was laid exactly one year later. She was launched on 26 October 1893, sponsored by Miss Daisy Ainsworth (daughter of Oregon steamboat magnate John C. Ainsworth), delivered to the Navy on 26 June 1896, and commissioned on 15 July 1896 with Captain H.L. Howison in command. Later she was commanded by Captains Albert S. Barker and Alexander H. McCormick. Captain Charles E. Clark assumed command 17 March 1898 throughout the Spanish–American War.
Oregon served for a short time with the Pacific Squadron before being ordered on a voyage around South America to the East Coast in March 1898 in preparation for war with Spain. She departed from San Francisco on 19 March, and reached Jupiter Inlet 66 days later, a journey of 14,000 nautical miles (26,000 km; 16,000 mi). This was considered a remarkable achievement at the time. The journey popularized the ship with the American public and demonstrated the need for a shorter route, which led to construction of the Panama Canal. After completing her journey Oregon was ordered to join the blockade at Santiago as part of the North Atlantic Squadron under Rear Admiral Sampson. She took part in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba, where she and the cruiser Brooklyn were the only ships fast enough to chase down the Spanish cruiser Cristóbal Colón, forcing its surrender. Around this time she received the nickname “Bulldog of the Navy”, most likely because of her high bow wave—known as “having a bone in her teeth” in nautical slang—and perseverance during the cruise around South America and the battle of Santiago.
After the war Oregon was refitted and sent back to the Pacific. She served for a year in the Philippines during the Philippine–American War and then spent a year in China at Wusong during the Boxer Rebellion before returning to the United States for an overhaul. In March 1903 Oregon returned to Asiatic waters and stayed there for three years, decommissioning in April 1906. Oregon was recommissioned in August 1911, but saw little activity and was officially placed on reserve status in 1914. After the United States joined World War I in 1917 Oregon acted as one of the escorts for transport ships during the Siberian Intervention. In October 1919, she was decommissioned for the final time. As a result of the Washington Naval Treaty, Oregon was declared “incapable of further warlike service” in January 1924. In June 1925 she was loaned to the State of Oregon, who used her as a floating monument and museum in Portland.
In February 1941, Oregon was redesignated IX–22. Due to the outbreak of World War II it was decided that the scrap value of the ship was more important than her historical value, so she was sold. Her stripped hulk was later returned to the Navy and used as an ammunition barge during the battle of Guam, where she remained for several years. USCGC Tupelo (WLB-303) assisted towing Oregon to Guam. During a typhoon in November 1948, she broke loose and drifted out to sea. She was located 500 miles southeast of Guam and towed back. She was sold on 15 March 1956 and scrapped in Japan.