The Big I gets a well-deserved rest, 120 years ago today
Here we see America’s first seagoing battleship, USS Iowa (BB-4) entering dry dock September 1, 1898, for peacetime maintenance and repair shortly after her first wartime service.
You see hostilities were halted just 18 days prior to this image being taken, with the signing in Washington of a Protocol of Peace between the United States and Spain. During said conflict, Iowa served in Sampson’s blockade and was key in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba.
It was to be the highlight of her career.
As noted by DANFS:
She served along the West Coast until February 1902, when she began a year with the South Atlantic Squadron.
Iowa‘s return to the U.S. Atlantic Coast in early 1903 was followed by an overhaul and, from late 1903 until mid-1907, active service with the North Atlantic Fleet. She was then placed in reserve, recommissioning in May 1910 after a modernization that gave her a new “cage” mainmast. The next four years were spent on training service, including taking Naval Academy Midshipmen to European waters . Again out of commission from May 1914 until April 1917, Iowa was employed during the First World War as Receiving Ship at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and as a training and guard ship in the Chesapeake Bay region.
Decommissioned at the end of March 1919, the now thoroughly-obsolete Iowa was renamed Coast Battleship No. 4 a month later in order to free her name for use on the new South Dakota class battleship BB-53 [which was never built]. In 1920 the old warrior was converted to the Navy’s pioneer radio-controlled target ship. While serving in this role, she was sunk by the guns of USS Mississippi in March 1923.