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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

USS Houston (AK-1)
ex
USS Houston (1917 - 1920)


Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from left to right
World War I Victory Medal (with Transport clasp) - Yangtze Service Medal


Houston Class Cargo Ship:
  • Laid down, circa 1902-1903, at Bremer Vulcan, Vegesack, Germany as SS Liebenfels
  • Launched, 11 April 1903
  • Laid up at the outbreak of WWI at Charleston, S.C. by the US Government in August 1914
  • Scuttled and abandoned by her crew at Charleston, 1 February 1917
  • Raised and entered Charleston Navy Yard for conversion to Naval service, 20 March 1917
  • Commissioned USS Houston, 3 July 1917, LCDR. W. H. Lee, USNRF in command
  • Designated (AK-1), 17 July 1920
  • Decommissioned, 23 March 1922
  • Struck from the Naval Register, date unknown
  • Commercial History
    Sold, 27 September 1922, to Frank M. Warren of Portland, OR,
    Renamed SS North King in 1923
    Sold to Campania Diana de Vapores S.A., Panama, date unknown
    Chartered by the War Shipping Administration (WSA) from Campania Diana de Vapores S.A., 30 December 1941, at New York, N.Y.
    Transferred to United States Lines Co. for operation, 30 December 1941
    Returned to Campania Diana de Vapores S.A., 26 February 1946, at New York, N.Y.
    Final Disposition, sold to Japanese breakers Y. Yamamoto & Co., Osaka, Japan, scrapped in 1958
    Specifications:
    Displacement 4,525 t.(lt) 9,000 t.(fl)
    Length 392'
    Beam 50' 9"
    Draft 25' 4"
    Speed 11 kts.
    Complement 145
    Armament four 3" guns
    Propulsion coal fired boilers, engine type unknown, single propeller

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Source
    Pre-WWI Commercial Service
    Houston 364k Launching ceremonies of SS Liebenfels at Bremer Vulkan Shipyards, Bremen, Germany, 11 April 1903. Gerhard Mueller-Debus
    Houston 404k The DDG Hansa freighter SSLiebenfels after being scuttled by her German crew at Charleston, S.C. in 1917. Gerhard Mueller-Debus
    USS Houston
    Houston 77k Houston, pictured in drydock at Charleston Navy Yard, Charleston, S.C., was the ex German SSLiebenfels which had been seized by Customs Officials, 6 April 1917
    US Navy photo # NR&L(M) 4263 from DANFS.
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    Houston 75k Houston at Charleston Navy Yard, Charleston, S.C.
    View from Pier 314 (reinforced concrete dock), looking inland, 1 May 1917. The former German freighter SS Liebenfels is dry docked at left. She was commissioned as USS Houston in early July 1917.
    US Navy photo # NH 45245 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Houston 124k Houston in dry dock at Charleston Navy Yard, while undergoing conversion for Naval service, 6 May 1917. Note dredge in the right distance, and timber stores in the foreground.
    US Navy photo # NH 53576 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Houston 275k Houston at Charleston Navy Yard, 2 July 1917, following conversion from the ex-German freighter Liebenfels. Note the station ship Hartford is in the distance, beyond Houston's bow.
    US Navy photo # NH 53580 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Houston 51k USS Houston at Charleston, S.C., 18 April 1918, with Navy Coal Barge No. 213 alongside.
    US Navy photo # NH 89407 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Houston 79k USS Houston before designation as (AK-1), moored, date and location unknown, circa 1918.
    US National Archives photo # 181-PS-821, a US Navy photo now in the collections of the US National Archives
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    USS Houston (AK-1)
    Houston 185k Broadside view of USS Houston (AK-1) San Francisco Bay, circa 1922.
    US Navy photo.
    Darryl Baker
    Houston 159k Broadside view of USS Houston (AK-1) in San Francisco Bay, circa 1922.
    US Navy photo.
    Darryl Baker
    Post WWII Commercial Service
    Houston 400k The ex-DDG Hansa freighter SSLiebenfels in the port of Bremen, Germany in early 1957 as the Panama-flagged SS North King. Gerhard Mueller-Debus

    USS Houston (AK-1)
    DANFS history entry located on the US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Commanding Officers
    01LCDR. Lee, William Henry3 July 1917 - ~Obituary
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 27 August 2010