1900: The Launch of a U.S. Navy Vessel in California

February 28, 1900

The U.S. Navy vessel USS Dart (YFB-308) was launched at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard (MINSY) at the waterfront city of Vallejo, California. MINSY, which is located 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco, had been built during the 1850s and was the first U.S. Navy base established on the Pacific coast.

During the launch ceremony for Dart, this vessel was christened by Margaret Fechteler. She was the five-year-old daughter of Lieutenant Augustus F. Fechteler. He served as the aide to Rear Admiral Louis Kempff, who was commandant of MINSY at that time. Lieutenant Fechteler helped his daughter with the christening duties. (The above photo of Dart, which is in the foreground, was taken during that ceremony.)

About six weeks later, Dart was officially commissioned into the Navy as a ferry launch (boat). During the next three decades, she was used primarily as a means of transportation between the peninsula (known as Mare Island) where MINSY is situated and the main section of Vallejo. Dart was also employed as a fireboat whenever necessary throughout that time.

In 1930, Dart was transferred to the U.S. Lighthouse Service (USLHS) and renamed Locust. Starting the next year, USLHS placed this vessel into regular operations within the 18 Lighthouse District at San Francisco. Locust was used to help monitor and maintain navigational buoys in the region. Locust continued to carry out those duties after USLHS was merged into the U.S. Coast Guard in 1939. Locust remained in service in the 18th Lighthouse District until being decommissioned in 1954.

Photo Credit: Public Domain

For more information on USS Dart (YFB-308)/Locust, please check out  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Dart_(YFB-308)

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