Magnolia, 1904 (WAGL-231)

Feb. 10, 2021

Magnolia, 1904


Any of various deciduous or evergreen trees and shrubs of the genus Magnolia of the Western Hemisphere and Asia, many of which are cultivated for their showy white, pink, purple, or yellow flowers.

Builder: Baltimore Shipping & Drydock Company, Baltimore, Maryland

Length: 173'

Beam: 30' 5"

Draft: 13' 1"

Displacement: 877-tons

Cost: $124,873.60

Commissioned: 5 May 1904

Decommissioned: n/a: sunk on 25 August 1945

Disposition: Sunk

Machinery: 2 compound surface condensing steam engines; 2 Page & Burton coal-fired, watertube boilers; 700 SHP; 2 propellers

Performance & Endurance:
        Max: 11.5 knots
        Cruising: 10.5 knots; 1,400 mile range

Deck Gear: 

Complement: 27 (1910); 41 (1945)

Armament: 1 x 3"/50; 2 x 20mm/80; 2 depth charge tracks

Electronics: SO-8 detection radar; WEA-2a sonar (1945)


The Magnolia was one of two Magnolia-class bay-and-sound-tenders built for the Lighthouse Service by the Baltimore Shipbuilding & Drydock Company of Baltimore, Maryland.  She was launched in October of 1903 and commissioned on 5 May 1904.  She was assigned to the 8th Lighthouse District as an inspection tender and was based out of Mobile, Alabama.  She was converted from coal to oil-burning in 1934.

She was rammed amidships on 25 August 1945 by the cargo ship SS Marguerite Lehand off Mobile Bay.  She sank in two minutes and one of her crew was killed.  The other 49 were rescued.  Those survivors cross-decked to the new tender CGC Salvia (WAGL-400) which then took her place.


Officers of USLHST Magnolia, 1936.  The tender’s Radio Operator (or “Sparks”) was Abraham Gardberg—third from the left.  Photo was probably taken at the foot of Water Street in Mobile, AL.  Photo provided by Jonathan Gardberg (Abraham Gardberg’s son).



Douglas Peterson.  United States Lighthouse Service Tenders, 1840-1939. Annapolis: Eastwind Publishing, 2000.

Robert Scheina.  U.S. Coast Guard Cutters & Craft of World War II.  Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1982.