Arbutus, 1879

April 15, 2020

Arbutus, 1879

Any of 20 species of evergreen shrubs or trees of the heath family found in southern Europe and western North America.

Builder: William J. Malster & Co., Baltimore, Maryland

Commissioned: September 1879

Decommissioned: 8 April 1924; sold 3 March 1935

Length: 153'

Beam: 25'

Draft: 10' 7"

Propulsion: Steam engine with coal-fired boilers producing 400 brake horsepower

Complement: 5 officers, 14 crewmen (1907)

Armament: None


Arbutus was a lighthouse tender built in 1879 at Baltimore and was accepted into service in September 1879. She served in the Fourth, Seventh, and Fifth Light House Districts until taken into naval service in World War I.

She was transferred to the Navy from the Lighthouse Service on 16 April 1917 and was commissioned as a naval vessel on 4 June 1917. Operating under the orders of the Commandant, 5th Naval District, she served just over two years before being returned to the Lighthouse Service by an executive order dated 1 July 1919.

She was laid up due to a lack of funding in January, 1921 and was decommissioned in 1924 and sold the next year.


Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Vol. I, Part A, p. 346.

Douglas Peterson, U.S. Lighthouse Service Tenders, 1840-1939 (Annapolis: Eastwind Publishing, 2000), p. 46.