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Lost Washington: Norfolk and Washington's Northland

N&W Northland

The Northland was built by the Harlan & Hollingsworth Corp., Wilmington, Del., in 1911 for the Norfolk and Washington Steamboat Company. Like the Southland, she transported passengers and freight between Washington and Norfolk.

Steamer Northland Deck Plans

During the first part of World War II, she operated as a transport with the British Navy. She was assigned the name Leyden (IX-167) on May 18, 1944, and was acquired by the Navy and commissioned May 22, 1944, Lt. William S. Johnson in command.

From her commissioning until July 1945, Leyden operated as a naval auxiliary in British staging areas and French ports during the final European campaigns of World War II. Leyden was decommissioned at Falmouth, England July 23, 1945, for return to the War Shipping Administration, and was sold to the Fu Chung International Corp. November 7, 1946. She was renamed Hung Chong. She was broken up as scrap in 1955.

N&W Northland
Kent Boese posts items of historic interest primarily within the District. He's worked in libraries since 1994, both federal and law, and currently works on K Street. He's been an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner serving the northern Columbia Heights and Park View neighborhoods since 2011 (ANC 1A), and is the force behind the blog Park View, D.C.


Anyone have an idea how long it would take, with modern, large, commercial vessels, to travel between Washington and Norfolk, today?

Right now the options are a flight, a 4+ hour train ride through Richmond that doesn't actually cross Hampton Roads, or a 4+ hour car ride.

by Joey on Jul 31, 2009 3:16 pm • linkreport

175 Nautical Miles (lot of twisting and turning). With one of the faster passenger ferries (30Knots or about 35mph) it would take at least 5.8 hours. Considering the relatively narrow waterway and the amount of small vessel traffic one would encounter, I donÂ’t thing you can get that fast.

by RJ on Jul 31, 2009 3:31 pm • linkreport

Here is an old stock certificate and some interesting history of the old steamship lines that used to operate out of DC in the late 1800's and up into the post WW2 era.


by w on Aug 3, 2009 11:57 am • linkreport

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