7/9/09

S. S. President Cleveland ON THE HIGH SEAS


To read an update to this post click here.

I can close my eyes and remember standing aboard ship and watching the sun set on the horizon as we sailed to Hawaii, each day feeling the sea breeze grow warmer. I wish I could experience it again. 

These lovely cards are of the S. S. President Cleveland which sailed from San Francisco to Asia and back again. I believe these date to the later 50s to early 60s. 

S.S. President Cleveland_front_postcardtatteredandlost
S.S. President Cleveland_postcard front_tatteredandlost
S.S. President Cleveland_back_postcard_tatteredandlost
Click on images to see them larger.

The S. S. President Cleveland was part of the American President Lines. 
In 1938 the U.S. Government took over the management of the Dollar Steamship Co. which was in financial difficulties and transferred their assets to the newly formed American President Line. The company operated trans-Pacific and round-the-world services, but the war in Europe disrupted services and after the entry of the United States into the war, all the company's ships were taken over for war duties. After the war, only two ships were returned to the round-the-world service and two new ships were built 1947-48 for the trans-Pacific route. Further ships were later added to the fleet, but by 1972 only the PRESIDENT CLEVELAND (2) and PRESIDENT WILSON (2) were sailing as passenger ships and both were withdrawn from service the following year. The company still trades as a cargo company. (SOURCE: The Ships List)
To see photos of the interior click on this link to the site Cruising the Past. And to read a complete history of the lines click here for Wikipedia. Unfortunately I can't find any information about either illustrator.

I hope this bit of ephemera brings back memories to those who sailed the high seas in style and gives those who didn't a moment to pause and dream.

11 comments:

  1. Anonymous7/08/2011

    My father sailed aboard the SS President Cleveland from Hong Kong to San Francisco in 1949. I have the postcard with the yellow background from that journey. Therefore, that card probably dates back to at least 1949, though I suspect to 1947 when it first sailed.

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  2. Anonymous, thanks for the information.

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  3. Anonymous7/21/2013

    we sailed back from Manila in 1968 on the SS Cleveland after living on Stanley Point NAS for 3 years. Remember time spent in Hong Kong, Yokohama and Honolulu.

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    Replies
    1. It's always nice to hear from people who remember the old days of cruise ships.

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    2. Anonymous8/22/2017

      I too sailed on the Cleveland in 1968 coming back from Sangley Point NAS. Funny....are you my older brother?

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  4. I was born on the SS President Cleveland on September 5, 1951 while docked in the port of Yokahama Japan. In 1963, I actually got to sail on the ship from SF to Manila. Even visited the room I was born in.

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    Replies
    1. That is fantastic! There's a wonderful story there to be told.

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  5. I sailed twice on the President Cleveland. Once in 1960 from San Francisco to Yokohama and then 1966 from Yokohama to San Francisco. I can remember both voyages vividly and it was a wonderful time. I have both postcards - the yellow background and the blue so they were still used in the 60s. Great memories. I also sailed on the SS President Hoover from Yokohama to San Francisco in 1963.

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    Replies
    1. Let me just say I'm jealous. How wonderful to have sailed on these ships so many times. Thanks for the update about the possible age of the cards.

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  6. Anonymous10/03/2014

    I sailed on the president Cleveland in the fall of 1972 as an evaporator maintenance man, an engine room position similar to oiler. I made 2 6 week trips to Japan, Manila, Hong Kong and back to San Francisco. The ship was in pretty poor shape by then. At our union meeting the subject of air quality in one of the engine rooms was brought up. The soot in the air was so heavy that one could barely see across the engine room. It was decided not to make this an issue because the cost of the repairs could force the company to lay the ship up and our union would lose around 60 jobs. I piled off before the ship made her last trip. If I get a reply to this post I'll tell of the engine room explosion that nearly killed the entire engine room watch. It's an interesting story.

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    Replies
    1. I do indeed want to hear the story. The crew in the engine room is the ones those on the upper decks forget about.

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