|The USS California BB-44 was known as the Prune Barge and also as the Golden State Battleship. Her gestation was rather convoluted. Originally the Battleship California was to be BB-40 and was to be built in the Brooklyn Navy Yard as part of the
Battleship 1915 authorizations. On October 14, 1914 the keel of the new battleship was laid down and on October 17 the Bureau of Engineering suggested that one of the three Battleship 1915 ships be fitted with turboelectric drive. As the keel was laid
the commandant of the Brooklyn Navy Yard announced to the Secretary of the Navy, Josephus Daniels, “Mr. Secretary, the keel of the California has been well and truly laid!” (USS California, A Visual History of the Golden State Battleship
BB-44 by David Doyle) Two battleship 1916 ships were authorized as BB-43 and BB-44 and on December 8, 1915 the Secretary of the Navy announced that BB-44 would be built at Mare Island to be named USS California BB-44. The lobbying
worked and on March 14, 1916 it was announced that BB-40, laid down a year and a half earlier, would renamed USS New Mexico BB-40 and BB-44 would be named USS California. This interesting history is just a small part of the information
presented in David Doyle’s USS California, A Visual History of the Golden State Battleship BB-44.