Built in Newport News, Virginia, The Battleship Kearsarge was the first of two ships in the class. She was commisioned on February 20, 1900 and was assigned to the Atlantic. A powder explosion aboard the ship on April 13, 1906 caused some minor damage, and resulted in ten casualties. As a result of their actions during this incident, Seaman George Breeman, and Chief Boatswains Mate Isidor Nordstrom were awarded the Congresional Medal Of Honor.
Kearsarge sailed with the Great White Fleet from 1907-1909. This was an around the world cruise to spread good will and to show the power of the United States Navy. After returning to the United States, Kearsarge was decommisioned for moderization on September 4, 1909. After the modernization she was put in reserve.
Recommisioned on June 23, 1915 Kearsarge was involved in operations in Vera Cruz, Mexico. She was then put in commisioned reserve on February 4, 1916 and was used as a training ship for the Massachuettes and Maine Naval Militias.
During World War I, Kearsarge was used as a training ship for engineers and armed guards, and in 1919 was used for a training ship at the Naval Academy.
Kearsarge was decommisioned on May 10,1920 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard for conversion into a crane ship. She was gutted, and all armaments were removed. A 250 ton crane was installed. She was redesignated AB-1 on April 15, 1939 and the Name Kearsarge was cancelled on November 6, 1941.
Now known as Crane Ship 1 she served on the East Coast until 1945, and then San Francisco from 1945-48. She was then sent to Boston where she served until June 22, 1955. On August 9, 1955 she was sold for scrap.