Named after the city of Denver, Colorado, the ship was laid down by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation in 1940 as a Cleveland-class light cruiser. The ship was sponsored by Miss L. J. Stapleton, daughter of the Mayor of Denver, and served during World War II, an activity for which it earned 11 battle stars, as well as the Navy Unit Commendation. The USS Denver was actually the second ship to be named after this city. Veterans who were present on this ship should keep a close eye on their health, as there were numerous asbestos products present aboard the USS Denver. By inhaling or ingesting the tiny fibers of asbestos from the air, exposure occurs, which may, within 20 to 50 years, lead to the development of serious, even life-threatening diseases such as lung cancer or mesothelioma. Therefore, people who were present on the USS Denver must be very vigilant when it comes to their health and undergo medical examinations periodically. In 1960, the ship was sold to Union Minerals and Alloy Corp. and subsequently scrapped.