USS Blue Ridge (1918)
S.S. Virginia (American Great Lakes Passenger Liner, 1891) At Muskegon, Michigan, prior to World War I. Color-tinted post card published by the E.C. Kropp Co., Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The original card was postmarked at Muskegon on 28 August 1916. This ship served as USS Blue Ridge (ID # 2432) in 1918-1919.
|Name:||USS Blue Ridge|
|Builder:||Globe Iron Works, Cleveland, Ohio|
|Acquired:||by purchase, 19 April 1918|
|Commissioned:||17 October 1918|
|Renamed:||Avalon, 18 August 1919|
Sold, 21 August 1919|
Destroyed by fire, 18 July 1960
|Displacement:||1,606 long tons (1,632 t)|
|Length:||269 ft 2 in (82.04 m)|
|Beam:||38 ft 3 in (11.66 m)|
|Draft:||12 ft 8 in (3.86 m)|
|Speed:||16.5 knots (30.6 km/h; 19.0 mph)|
|Complement:||87 officers and enlisted|
In commercial service, 1891–1918
Blue Ridge was originally constructed as the Great Lakes passenger steamer Virginia built by Globe Iron Works at Cleveland, Ohio. The ship was launched in 1891 and was operated by the Goodrich Transit Company between Chicago, Illinois and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Virginia was purchased on 19 April 1918 for use as a Navy transport at Manitowoc, Wisconsin once America entered World War I. The ship was renamed Blue Ridge (SP-2432) and commissioned on 17 October 1918. Lieutenant Commander E. S. Ells, USNR, was the commanding officer.
On 28 December 1918, the ship arrived at the Boston Navy Yard from the Great Lakes. While undergoing repairs, the war ended and eliminated the need for further service. While still at the Navy Yard, the ship's name was changed to Avalon on 18 August 1919.
Return to commercial service, 1919–1951
The Edward P. Farley Company of Chicago bought the ship on 21 August 1919. The Wilmington Transportation Company acquired Avalon. In 1920, the ship entered the company's two-hour daytime run between the Catalina Island Terminal at Wilmington and Los Angeles harbor.
During World War II, Avalon served as a transport in the San Francisco Bay area. The ship returned to the Catalina–Los Angeles run in 1946 and remained in this service until laid up at the Catalina Island Terminal on 12 February 1951.