RETURN TO THE HOMEPAGE                                                                                                                                                                                                                    S/S MARIPOSA 1931

In the 1920s and 1930s Matson reached a peak of expansion. With increasing passenger traffic to Hawaii, Matson Line introduced the Malolo in 1927. She was the fastest ship in the Pacific, cruising at 22 knots. Her success led to the construction of three sister ships: the Mariposa, Monterey and Lurline between 1930 and 1932. These were known as the great Matson liners and made the liner service from San Francisco to beautiful Hawaii, the South Pacific and Australia renowned. The first of this new trio of sister ships was the Mariposa introduced in 1931. 

Design and Construction (1931 - 1932):

The Mariposa was built by the Bethlehem Steel shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts. She was launched on the 18th July 1931.

Prewar Matson Line era (1932 - 1941):

In February 1932 the Mariposa entered service on Matson Line's new extended South Pacific route from San Francisco to Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia. Meanwhile the Malolo and Lurline continued to operate the traditional San Francisco to Hawaii route.  In May 1932 the Mariposa was joined on her new route by the Monterey. This famous South Pacific route was from San Francisco to Australia via Los Angeles, Honolulu, Pago Pago, Suva, Auckland, Sydney and Melbourne.This was the heyday of the great Matson Liners, crack passenger trains were adopted as "Boat Trains", carrying passengers from New York and Chicago to connect in San Francisco with the liner sailings.

The Mariposa and her sister ships were attracting the Hollywood stars sailing to Hawaii in ever increasing numbers. These stars including famous names such as William Powell, Carole Lombard, Jimmy Durante, Claudette Colbert, Myrna Loy, Joel McCrea, Frances Dee and Shirley Temple. Despite the difficulties of the Depression, the popularity of travel to Hawaii remained high.

During this period the Matson Liners became such a popular institution in San Francisco that during the Golden Gate Exposition celebrations on Treasure Island in 1939, the City named the 9th August 1939 as Matson Day!

The Mariposa continued on this service until 1941.

War Service (1941 - 1946):

During the Second World War the Mariposa was requisitioned by the US Government for war service as a troopship. She served in this role from 1941 to 1946.

Postwar Matson Line era (1946 - 1953):

Both Mariposa and Monterey were returned to Matson Line for conversion to passenger service on the 26th September 1946 but financial problems halted the work in July 1947 at United Engineering Works in Alameda, CA. She was laid up 30% completed.

Home Lines era (1953 - 1973):

In 1953 the Mariposa was sold to Home Lines and in 1954 was renamed the Homeric. The Homeric was completely refitted with accommodation for 147 first class and 1,096 tourist class passengers. The Homeric started regularly scheduled Southampton - New York sailings in 1955 and Le Havre - Montreal sailings in 1957. From 1963 she was used for cruising only and after a serious fire in 1973, it was found uneconomic to repair her and she was sold for scrapping at Taiwan.

A sad end after a remarkable career for this fine example of American marine engineering showcasing the best of America.  
Long may she be remembered.

(c) The AJN Transport Britain Collection 2007                                                                                                                                                                                 A Edward Elliott