On January 22, 1905, the steamship Minnesota sails for Asia with 300 passengers and the largest cargo to that point ever to cross the Pacific Ocean. Shipments range from "a paper of pins to a hogshead of tobacco to a bale of cotton to the heaviest architectural steel as well as engines and railroad cars" (Seattle P-I). The Minnesota and her sister ship the Dakota are owned by the Great Northern Steamship Company. The ship will call at Yokohama, Kobe, Nagasaki, Shanghai, Manila, and Hong Kong.
The Minnesota sailed from the Great Northern's Smith Cove dock with 28,000 tons. The ship was the largest passenger ship operating in the Pacific at the time. It was 622 feet long and 73.5 feet across the beam, and had 11 decks. The Minnesota was launched in 1903 in Groton, Connecticut, and sailed the Pacific until 1917, when she was sold to the British government for service in World War I.