USS Essex, 1931 #
The USS Essex was an armed naval sloop built between 1874 and 1876 at East Boston, MA, by Donald McKay. Famous for his clipper ships, McKay was one of the most prominent shipbuilders in this nation’s history. The wreck is historically significant as the last remaining known example of a Donald McKay vessel. The Essex served the U.S. Navy from 1876 to 1903. In 1904 it was employed for training duties with the Toledo Naval Militia until 1927, when it was transferred to the Naval Reserve of the State of Minnesota. The Essex served Minnesotans for only three years before being stricken from the Navy list on October 27, 1930. The Essex’s sale for scrapping on December 23 marked the loss of the oldest steam-powered vessel on the Navy list. The ship was taken to the beach outside Duluth harbor and burned on October 14, 1931.