USS Buffalo -- 1914 Alaskan Radio Expedition (Part 3: September-October 1914)

Photo # NH 105452: Boats from USS Buffalo laying a submarine cable at Sitka, Alaska, circa October 1914.

Between 1911 and 1914 the Navy sent a series of three Alaskan Radio Expeditions to build a network of radio stations. The 1911 Alaskan Radio Expedition, in USS Buffalo, and the 1912 Alaskan Radio Expedition, in USS Nero, built stations on Woody Island near Kodiak, on St. Paul and St. George in the Pribilof Islands, on the island of Unalga, and at Dutch Harbor near Unalaska. In 1914 Buffalo returned with the 1914 Alaskan Radio Expedition which upgraded and repaired these five stations plus those at Sitka and Cordova.

Buffalo departed San Francisco with the 1914 expedition, which included 44 civilians, on 7 May and returned to Mare Island on 27 October 1912. The photographs on this page show the ship using its specially built cargo pontoon and its steam launches to lay an underwater electrical power cable at its final Alaskan port of call, Sitka, following her arrival there in mid-September 1914. The cable connected the Navy's radio station with the power grid of the town of Sitka. Buffalo also erected a third radio mast for the Sitka radio station before departing for Mare Island in mid-October.

The photographs of the 1914 expedition are from two sources: the official report of the expedition (an oversized looseleaf volume containing copies of documents, blueprints of facilities and equipment, and photographs), and a photograph album made for the Commanding Officer of Buffalo, Commander Montgomery M. Taylor, USN. Both items are now in the collection of the Naval Historical Foundation at the Naval Historical Center.

This page features views of USS Buffalo during the final part of the 1914 Alaskan Radio Expedition.

For other images concerning this ship, see:

  • USS Buffalo (1898-1927, later AD-8)
  • USS Buffalo -- Activities and Crew
  • USS Buffalo -- In Drydock
  • USS Buffalo -- 1914 Alaskan Radio Expedition (Part 1: April-June 1914)
  • USS Buffalo -- 1914 Alaskan Radio Expedition (Part 2: May-September 1914)
  • USS Buffalo -- 1914 Alaskan Radio Expedition -- Crew
  • USS Buffalo -- 1914 Alaskan Radio Radio Stations and Settlements
  • Nictheroy (Brazilian Auxiliary Cruiser, 1893-1898)

  • Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

    Photo #: NH 105470

    USS Buffalo
    (1898-1927, later AD-8)

    At the naval coaling station at Sitka, Alaska, in October or late September 1914 during the 1914 Alaskan Radio Expedition.

    Collection of Admiral Montgomery M. Taylor, donated by Louisa R. Alger, 1962 (NHF-164-B).

    U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

     
    Photo #: NH 105452

    USS Buffalo
    (1898-1927, later AD-8)

    Boats from USS Buffalo laying a communications cable at Sitka, Alaska, in October or late September 1914 during the 1914 Alaskan Radio Expedition.
    The cable connected the Navy-built radio station on Japonski Island (background) with the Alaskan Military Cable office at Sitka on the mainland (foreground). Two steam launches from the ship and an improvised pontoon carrying the cable reel are part way across the channel during the cable laying operation. Buffalo is moored at the pier of the Japonski Island naval coaling station, with the station's two coal sheds visible to the right. The radio station is just to the right of the coaling station.

    Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation (NHF-165-B).

    U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

     
    Photo #: NH 105453

    USS Buffalo
    (1898-1927, later AD-8)

    Boats from USS Buffalo preparing to lay a communications cable at Sitka, Alaska, in October or late September 1914 during the 1914 Alaskan Radio Expedition.
    The cable connected the Navy-built radio station on Japonski Island (background) with the Alaskan Military Cable office at Sitka on the mainland (foreground). A steam launch from the ship is alongside an improvised pontoon carrying the cable reel. The cable has been connected at the Sitka end and the pontoon will soon be towed across the channel, paying out cable on the way. Buffalo is moored at the pier of the Japonski Island naval coaling station, with the station's two coal sheds visible to the right.

    Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation (NHF-165-B).

    U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

     
    Photo #: NH 105454

    USS Buffalo
    (1898-1927, later AD-8)

    Boats from USS Buffalo completing the laying of a communications cable at Sitka, Alaska, in October or late September 1914 during the 1914 Alaskan Radio Expedition.
    The cable connected the Navy-built radio station on Japonski Island with the Alaskan Military Cable office at Sitka on the mainland. Two steam launchs from the ship have towed an improvised pontoon carrying the cable reel from the Sitka side of the channel, where one end of the cable was connected, and are now standing back as the other end is delivered to the Japonski Island side. The pontoon consists of two of the ship's boats with a deck constructed over and connecting them.

    Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation (NHF-165-B).

    U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

     
    Photo #: NH 105597

    USS Buffalo
    (1898-1927, later AD-8)

    Completing the laying of an underwater power cable at Sitka, Alaska, in October or late September 1914 during the 1914 Alaskan Radio Expedition.
    The cable connected the Navy-built radio station on Japonski Island with the municipal power company at Sitka on the mainland (background). The improvised pontoon carrying the cable reel is beached on the Japonski Island side and has passed the end of the cable to personnel ashore. The pontoon consists of two sailing cutters covered and connected by a rectangular deck.

    Collection of Admiral Montgomery M. Taylor, donated by Louisa R. Alger, 1962 (NHF-086).

    U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

     
    Photo #: NH 105471

    USS Buffalo
    (1898-1927, later AD-8)

    Completing the laying of a communications cable at Sitka, Alaska, in October or late September 1914 during the 1914 Alaskan Radio Expedition.
    The cable connected the Navy-built radio station on Japonski Island (foreground) with the Alaskan Military Cable office at Sitka on the mainland (background). The improvised pontoon carrying the cable reel is beached on the Japonski Island side after delivering the end of the cable to the shore. The pontoon consists of two of the ship's boats covered and connected by a rectangular deck. Note the town of Sitka in the background.

    Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation (NHF-164-B).

    U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

     
    Photo #: NH 105472

    USS Buffalo
    (1898-1927, later AD-8)

    Completing the laying of a communications cable at Sitka, Alaska, in October or late September 1914 during the 1914 Alaskan Radio Expedition.
    The cable connected the Navy-built radio station on Japonski Island with the Alaskan Military Cable office at Sitka on the mainland. The cable laying crew is carrying the end of the cable from the beached cable laying pontoon to the radio station. Two of the station's three towers are visible. The third tower, out of the image to the right, was probably built by the 1914 expedition. Most of the other structures are part of the adjacent coaling station.

    Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation (NHF-164-B).

    U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

     
    Photo #: NH 105473

    USS Buffalo
    (1898-1927, later AD-8)

    At the naval coaling station at Sitka, Alaska, in October or late September 1914 during the 1914 Alaskan Radio Expedition.
    The two coal sheds of the coaling station are on the left, as are the three towers of the co-located radio station. The tower on the right is of a different type and was probably added by the 1914 expedition.

    Collection of Admiral Montgomery M. Taylor, donated by Louisa R. Alger, 1962 (NHF-164-B).

    U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

     
    Photo #: NH 105598

    USS Buffalo
    (1898-1927, later AD-8)

    Completing the laying of an underwater power cable at Sitka, Alaska, in October or late September 1914 during the 1914 Alaskan Radio Expedition.
    Personnel of the expedition are digging a trench for the portion of the cable that runs from the shoreline to the Sitka radio station building, in the background. The cable connected the radio station on Japonski Island to the municipal power company at Sitka on the mainland.

    Collection of Admiral Montgomery M. Taylor, donated by Louisa R. Alger, 1962 (NHF-086).

    U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

     
    Photo #: NH 105446

    USS Buffalo
    (1898-1927, later AD-8)

    Returning to Mare Island, California, on 27 October 1914 at the conclusion of the 1914 Alaskan Radio Expedition.

    Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation (NHF-165-B).

    U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

     


    For other images concerning this ship, see:

  • USS Buffalo (1898-1927, later AD-8)
  • USS Buffalo -- Activities and Crew
  • USS Buffalo -- In Drydock
  • USS Buffalo -- 1914 Alaskan Radio Expedition (Part 1: April-June 1914)
  • USS Buffalo -- 1914 Alaskan Radio Expedition (Part 2: May-September 1914)
  • USS Buffalo -- 1914 Alaskan Radio Expedition -- Crew
  • USS Buffalo -- 1914 Alaskan Radio Radio Stations and Settlements
  • Nictheroy (Brazilian Auxiliary Cruiser, 1893-1898)

    Page made 19 October 2008