Prairie (AD-5): Photographs

These photographs were selected to show the original configuration of this class and major subsequent modifications. For most classes many other photographs exist.
For more complete online collections of U. S. Navy ship photographs see in particular the NHHC Online Library of Selected Images and the NavSource Photo Archive.

Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

S.S. El Sol (American coastal freighter, 1890)

The first of the three large, fast, iron-hulled, four-masted coastal freighters completed for the Morgan Line in 1890-1892. These were followed in 1893 by two similar steel-hulled, two-masted ships. In 1898 the five ships, in order of construction, became the U.S. Navy auxiliary cruisers Prairie, Yosemite, Yankee, Dixie, and Buffalo.

Photo No. 19-N-14263
Source: U.S. National Archives, RG-19-N box 32.

 
USS Prairie (1898-1923)

The former El Sol photographed at the New York Navy Yard soon after commissioning in April 1898.
She is in her original configuration as an auxiliary cruiser with a main battery of ten 6" guns, including two on deck forward, probably two more aft, and six in the hull, plus two pole masts with fore-and-aft rig.

Photo No. NH 44056
Source: U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command

 
USS Prairie (1898-1923)

Photographed on 13 April 1900.
Her main battery has been rearranged and reduced to eight 6" guns. All eight guns are in the hull, none being left on deck.

Photo No. 19-N-14185
Source: U.S. National Archives, RG-19-N box 20.

 
USS Prairie (1898-1923)

Shown after alterations as a training ship, probably in 1902-1903.
Her pole masts have been shortened and fitted with tops, topmasts, and heavy yardarms. Her main battery of eight 6" guns has been relocated to new positions in the hull.
Near-sister Yankee had a similar main battery arrangement and rig at this time but she had 5" instead of 6" guns.

Photo No. 19-N-13235
Source: U.S. National Archives, RG-19-N box 20.

 
USS Prairie (1898-1923)

Probably shown after recommissioning as a transport in September 1906 and before the fleet converted from white to gray paint in 1909.
Her armament is now ten 3" guns, all on deck. Her training ship yardarms are gone but the topmasts remain, and long-wire radio antennas are barely visible suspended between them. At this time Prairie and near-sisters Dixie and Yankee (lost in 1908) were quite similar in appearance and are best distinguished by minor features like the location and size of their hawsepipes.

Photo No. NH 105430
Source: U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command

 
USS Prairie (1898-1923)

Probably shown during the Vera Cruz operation in 1914.

Photo No. NH 106692
Source: U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command

 
USS Prairie (1898-1923)

Enroute during 1918 from Hamilton, Bermuda, to Ponta Delgada, Azores, in convoy.
Prairie convoyed a group of subchasers from New London to Gibraltar via Bermuda and the Azores between 26 September and 9 November 1918.


Photo No. NH 1866
Source: U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command

 
USS Prairie (1898-1923)

In the Panama Canal during the transit of the Pacific Fleet through the canal on 24 and 25 July 1919.
Note the ship's many wartime modifications, particularly to the bridge structure.


Photo No. NH 105807
Source: U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command

 
USS Buffalo (AD-8)

In "Red Lead Row" at the Destroyer Base, San Diego, California, at the end of 1922. The similar ship behind her is USS Prairie (AD-5).
This image is an enlargement of part of Photo No. NH 42539, which also shows at least 65 destroyers in this reserve fleet.

Photo No. NH 42539-A
Source: U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command