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General Slocum Disaster Memorial


This is the site of the former St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church, (1857 to 1940) a mostly German immigrant parish. On Wednesday, June 15, 1904, the church chartered the excursion steamer, GENERAL SLOCUM, to take the members on the 17th annual Sunday school picnic. The steamer sailed up the East River, with some 1400 passengers aboard, when it entered the infamous Hell Gate passage, caught fire and was beached and sank on North Brother Island. It is estimated 1200 people lost their lives, mostly women and children, dying within yards of the Bronx shores.

The GENERAL SLOCUM had been certified by the U.S. Steamboat Inspection Service to safely carry 2500 passengers five weeks before the disaster. An investigation after the fire and sinking found the lifeboats were wired and glued with paint to the deck, life jackets fell apart with age, fire hose burst under water pressure, and the crew never had a fire drill.

Until the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001,
the Slocum disaster had been the largest fire fatality in New York City's history.

Dedicated Sunday, June 13, 2004, by the Slocum Centennial Committee.
The Maritime Industry Museum
SUNY-Maritime College, Fort Schuyler, The Bronx, NY

Submitted by @lampbane

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