Thursday, September 22, 2011

Prow of the U.S.S. Indiana (BB-58)

The prow off the U.S.S. Indiana is located at the edge of a parking lot along Fourth St. in Berkeley, just south of the Fourth Street Shopping District and across the street from Spenger's Grotto.

The U.S.S. Indiana is the third U.S. Navy ship to bear that name. The first ship (BB-1), was a battleship constructed in 1895 that participated in the Spanish-American War. The second Indiana (BB-50) was begun, but construction was cancelled in 1924 due to the Washington naval Treaty.

The third Indiana was launched on the 21st of November, 1941, at the height of World War II. Shortly after her launch, the Indiana was sent through the Panama Canal to support fleet activity in the Pacific. She was used primarily to guard aircraft carriers and screen them from direct attacks by Japanese forces. The Indiana participated in several key operations in the Pacific, including the Battle of the Philippine Sea, and the invasion of Okinawa. Her duties and accomplishments are too many to list, but if you're interested Wikipedia has a very comprehensive page about this ship.

The Indiana was formally placed on reserve status in 1946 and formally decommissioned a year later. The ship saw no further active service and was eventually sold for scrap in 1963. However, a large number of pieces from the Indiana were removed and used as memorials or commemorative decorations. Her prow sits in Berkeley, but her anchor sits on the grounds of the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Her main mast is erected at Memorial Stadium at Indiana University, and a large number of smaller relics were distributed through various schools and museums throughout the state of Indiana.

Getting There By Bike...
This site is really easy to get to. The prow is located directly across the street from Spenger's Grotto at the base of University Ave. in Berkeley. You can reach it either by riding down Fourth St. until you reach Spenger's Grotto, or you can ride straight down University until you reach the water. Hang a soft right around the base of the overpass and you should ride right up next to Spenger's Grotto.

The area is a pretty busy shopping district and traffic can be heavy during the weekend. Be sure to pay attention to the many stop signs in the area because, in my experience, the drivers down in this area usually don't.


  1. FYI...The ship in your photo is not the USS Indiana. The ship in the picture is a heavy cruiser and looks like the USS Indianapolis which was sunk near the end of the war with great loss of life.

    1. Thanks for the information on the image. I've removed it from the post until I can find an image of the USS Indiana.