Mayflower, 1897

Feb. 15, 2021

Mayflower, 1897

Later USS Suwanee; Hydrangea

Any of a wide variety of plants that blossom in May.

Builder:  Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine

Length: 164'

Beam: 30'

Draft: 8' 1"

Displacement: 650 tons

Cost: $74,872

Commissioned: November, 1897

Decommissioned: 8 October 1945

Disposition: Transferred to U.S. Maritime Commission

Machinery: 2 Steeple compound inverted reciprocating steam engines; 2 Almy watertube coal-fired boilers; twin propellers; 325 SHP

Performance & Endurance:

        Max: 9.5 knots
        Cruising: 8.5 knots; 1,000 mile range (1945)

Deck Gear: 

Complement: 23 (1909)

Armament: None; 2 x 20mm/80 (single); 2 depth charge tracks (1945)

Electronics: None

Tender History:

The Mayflower was built as a bay and sound tender and was commissioned in November of 1897.  She was almost immediately pressed into service with the U.S. Navy for service during the Spanish-American War where she was commissioned as the USS Suwanee.  She was cited by the Navy Department for "Conspicuous Service" and was returned to the Lighthouse Service in December of 1898.  

She was rechristened Mayflower and was assigned to aids to navigation duty in the 2nd Lighthouse District and was based out of Boston.  She transferred to the 5th Lighthouse District in 1924.  She was decommissioned in December of 1939 and was transferred to the Maritime Training Service.  Due to pressing needs brought on by World War II, she was taken back into service with the Coast Guard in July of 1940 and she was given the hull designation WAGL-236 and was assigned to Norfolk.

On 15 August 1943 her name was changed yet again, this time to USCGC Hydrangea to avoid being confused with the Navy's USS Mayflower.  The Hydrangea was decommissioned on 8 October 1945 and was sold.


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