Battleship Oregon
The Oregon underway showing its impressive bow wake
Bulldog of the Navy
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The mighty battleship Oregon played a pivotal role in the Spanish-American War of 1898 and became a symbol for several decades of the United States’ naval strength.

The Oregon and two other battleships were constructed to help modernize the U.S. Navy after its post-Civil War decline. In 1891, the Union Iron Works of San Francisco began building the ship.

After it surpassed speed expectations, the well-built ship became known as the “Bulldog of the Navy” for its large foaming bow wake that resembled a bone in the teeth of a dog.

Prior to the war, the ship sailed from San Francisco through the Straits of Magellan to Florida in a record-breaking 60 days. The top-speed journey captured the hearts of the American public and later became a persuasive rationale for constructing the Panama Canal.

By the end of the Spanish-American War, the United States had established an overseas presence and become a world-class naval power.

In this exhibit, learn about
  • The Oregon's important role in the war
  • Her distinguished captain
  • Life on board
  • Activities after the war
  • Efforts to preserve the ship
Battleship Oregon: Bulldog of the Navy is curated by Ken Lomax and Rose Tucker Fellows Sara Lawrence-Paulson and Elizabeth Mendenhall.

Current Exhibits
Oregon: 150 Years of Statehood; 150 Million Years in the Making
Oregon My Oregon
Oregon Art
The Battleship Oregon
100 Faces of Change: The History of Workers' Compensation in Oregon
2 Years, 1 Month: Lincoln's Legacy
Oregon Voices: Change and Challenge in Modern Oregon History