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The California steaming through the Panama Canal, about 1930

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The California steaming through the Panama Canal, about 1930
NMAH, Transportation Collections, Ralph E. Cropley Scrapbooks


This object appears in the following sections:

The Connected City: New York, New York, 1920s
The Connected City: New York, New York, 1920s — Port Traffic

Steamship California (model)

Steamship California in the Panama Canal
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
This photograph shows the passenger steamship California passing through the Panama Canal about 1930.
Physical Description
Date Made:
about 1930
Dates Used:
about 1930 - about 1930
New York to California via Panama Canal
The twin-screw, turbo-electric steamship, California,was built by the Newport News Shipbuilding Company, in Virginia, for the Panama Pacific Line. At its launching in 1928, the California was the largest America-built liner and the world's largest commercial vessel with electric propulsion. The California was built especially for service through the Panama Canal on the run between New York and San Francisco, with stops at intermediate ports. The ship's length overall was 601 feet, breadth 80 feet, and depth of hull 52 feet. Its capacity was for 8,000 tons of freight, 747 passengers (384 1st class and 363 tourist class), and a crew of 350. With a speed of 21-3/4 miles an hour, the California was advertised to reach California in 13 days, instead of the usual 15. In 1937 the vessel was sold to the United States Maritime Commission and rebuilt for service between the U.S. and South America. Renamed Uruguay, the ship ran between New York and Buenos Aires until 1942 when it was converted to a troop transport for the War Shipping Administration. After the war the Uruguay returned to service and in 1964 was broken up in New Jersey.

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