SS Ancon was an American steamship that became the first ship to officially transit the Panama Canal in 1914. The steamer began life as the SS Shawmut, built for the Boston Steamship Line in 1902. About 1910 she was purchased by the Panama Railroad Company to provide shipping required for the construction of the Panama Canal. The name was changed to Ancon after Ancon Hill and Ancon township in Panama, home to the head of the Canal Commission.
Ancon and her sister ship Cristobal played a crucial role in building the canal, bringing workers and supplies, notably massive amounts of cement, from New York to Panama for the construction project.
On August 15, 1914 Ancon made the first official transit of the canal as part the canal's opening ceremonies. (Her sister ship Cristobal had made the first unofficial transit on August 3, delivering a load of cement, while an old French crane boat Alexandre La Valley had crossed the canal from the Atlantic in stages during construction, finally reaching the Pacific on January 7.)
Ancon was acquired by the United States Navy from the US Army just after the end of World War I and fitted out as USS Ancon (ID-1467), a troop transport to return Americans home.
On August 15, 1914 marked the start of a revolution in global trade and transportation. It was on that day that a cargo ship called the S.S. Ancon made the first passage through the Panama Canal