SS Dakota

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A broadside image of the SS Dakota
A broadside image of the SS Dakota
Name: SS Dakota
Operator: Great Northern Steamship Company
Route: Pacific
Builder: Eastern Shipbuilding Company
Launched: February 1903
Christened: 06 February 1904
Maiden voyage: 20 September 1905
Fate: Sank off Yokohama on 03 March 1907
General characteristics
Tonnage: 20,700
Length: 622 feet (190 m)
Beam: 73 feet (22 m)
Propulsion: Twin propellers
Speed: 14.6 knots (27.0 km/h)
Capacity: 200 first-class passengers
1,800 steerage passengers

The SS Dakota was a steamship built by the Eastern Shipbuilding Company in Groton, Connecticut and owned by railroad magnate James J. Hill of the Great Northern Steamship Company.[1]


Along with her sister ship, the SS Minnesota,[1][2] she was described as the largest steamer in the world flying the American flag.[1][2] She was built "to give impetus to the trade with the Orient", trading with Japan and Hong Kong[2] and travelling the Pacific route. Launched in February 1903,[2] she was a twin screw vessel with four masts and one funnel, capable of 14.6 knots.[3]

She was wrecked when she struck a reef[1] off the coast of Yokohama on 3 March 1907[2][4] on her seventh journey. The ship was close enough to shore to avoid any deaths and the passengers and cargo were evacuated before she sunk.[1]. The passengers returned to the United States aboard the Japanese steamship Hakuai.[5] Eighty bags of mail later washed ashore.[6]

File:SS Dakota Propulsion Units.JPG
Main engines of the SS Dakota

After the ship was lost, Hill vowed not to make any more ships under the American flag, noting the high cost of maintaining a ship in America compared to Japan due to restrictions he regarded as "onerous".[7]


The Dakota's main engines consisted of two units of three vertically positioned triple expansion cylinders. The cylinders had a stroke of 57 inches and diameters of 29, 51, and 89 inches and were designed to run at 78 RPM, developing approximately 4,800 horsepower each at a steam pressure of 230 pounds per square inch. The engines were designed to drive the ship at 14 knots.[8]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Dakota Datebook. 3 March 2006. "The Liner Dakota"". North Dakota Public Radio. Prairie Public Broadcasting in association with North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota. 2006-03-06. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Strom, Claire (2003). Profiting from the plains: the Great Northern Railway and corporate development of the American West. Seattle: University of Washington Press. pp. 98. ISBN 0-295-98348-5. 
  3. "Mystic Seaport Steamships. Mystic Seaport Steamship Images Collection". Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  4. McKenna, Robert W. (2003). The Dictionary of Nautical Literacy. Camden, ME: International Marine Publishing. pp. 92. ISBN 0-07-141950-0. 
  5. "Dakota's Passengers Land". New York Times. 1907-03-06. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  6. " 1907 - "Dakota"". Retrieved 2008-06-08. 
  7. "Hill won't build any more liners". New York Times. 1907-03-08. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  8. "The "Dakota" for Pacific Trade a Monster". Popular Mechanics. June 1905.,M1. Retrieved 4 February 2009. 

External links