Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The S.S. General Slocum, 107 years later

Today mark's the 107th anniversary of the the General Slocum disaster. You likely know about this tragedy. The S.S. General Slocum was a paddle steamer packed with mothers and children on a church trip that caught fire in the East River. More than 1,000 people, mainly residents of the East Village's German community, died.

Prior to Sept, 11, 2001, the burning of the General Slocum had the highest death toll of any disaster in New York City history.

Ephemeral New York has more on the tragedy here and here. You can find more Slocum resources here.

By coincidence, a worker was trying to clean a tag off the Slocum Memorial Fountain in Tompkins Square Park yesterday. Dave on 7th, who took the photo, said the worker was unaware of the anniversary.

The City dedicated the fountain in 1906. Per the Parks & Recreation website:

The Slocum Memorial Fountain by sculptor Bruno Louis Zimm was donated by the Sympathy Society of German Ladies and installed in Tompkins Square Park, a central feature of the neighborhood. The nine foot upright stele is made of pink Tennessee marble with a low relief of two children looking seaward as well as a lionhead spout.


Mykola ( Mick) Dementiuk said...

There used to be a Slocum Memorial right by the East River in the park on 13th St & East River Drive. Had an anchor and a plaque until someone chipped off the plaque for the copper to sell. Don't know if the anchor still remains.

Morgan Tsvangirai said...

David Rakoff did a great job describing the events of the Slocum for This American Life in the 9/21/2001 episode. I highly recommend checking it out.

Go here and click the play button for Act 2:

Anonymous said...

may all these souls R.I.P. u are missed

Marty Wombacher said...

@Morgan Tsvangirai: Thanks for that link, great work by David Rakoff. R.I.P. to all those people. Act 4 by David Sedaris is good too.