The Oregon underway showing its impressive bow wake
Bulldog of the Navy
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