2003-06-27 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

Seaside Steamboat Dock - 1901
Historical Views of the Rockaways Seaside Steamboat Dock - 1901

Historical Views
of the Rockaways


In the old days at Rockaways seaside Amusement section, whenever steamboats were safely tied up at the docks and unloading passengers, many small boats and those under sail came by for a closer look.

Photo number one shows two boats tied up and passengers taking the long walk to shore. The Grand Republic is on the right tied to the Beach 103 Street pier, and the ill-fated General Slocum is tied up to the Beach 104 Street pier.

Three years after this picture was taken, the General Slocum caught fire in the East River with thousands of women and children aboard. There was a tragic loss of life before the end of one of the worst days in New York maritime history: June 15, 1904.

One thousand and thirty one women and children on a Lutheran Church excursion lost their lives. The Slocum was 250 feet long on the water line, 250 feet long were the three decks built chiefly of white oak, locust, and yellow pine. The beam was seventy foot and the boat drew about seven feet of water. Add to this many coats of paint and varnish, plus fuel tanks, boat speed and a breeze on the river. Many victims drowned after jumping overboard to escape the fire!



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