The General Slocum Disaster: On a summer afternoon in 1904, the General Slocum, a supposedly unsinkable ship carrying about 1,300 people bound for a picnic, caught fire and sank in New York City’s notorious Hell Gate.

The General Slocum disaster was the second-worst maritime disaster in US history and the greatest loss of life in NYC before 9/11. But it’s been largely forgotten. When a church group and their neighbors went on an ill-fated day trip to Long Island, they encountered a disaster of unfathomable proportions, bolstered by greed, incompetence, and cowardice. And they would pay for other people’s mistakes with their own lives.

Over 1,000 people, mostly women and children, died that day, decimating the population of Manhattan’s Little Germany and devastating family members who’d been left behind. While this is an upsetting story, it’s an important one when looking at the Hell Gate’s history, as well as stories of the paranormal in the area.

Note: This episode contains stories about many people–including children–drowning and dying in a fire.

Highlights include:
• Drunk anarchists from Paterson, NJ
• What happened to NYC’s lost neighborhood of Little Germany
• An unsinkable ship that sank 8 years before the Titanic
• Heroic rescue efforts by tugboat captains and hospital employees and patients
• Guilty parties getting away with, if not murder, then manslaughter
• A possibly cursed ship

 

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Sources consulted RE: The General Slocum Disaster

Websites consulted RE: The General Slocum Disaster

  • https://ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.com/tag/east-river-shipwrecks/
  • https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/south-carolina/haunted-oakwood-cemetery-sc/
  • https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/kentucky/kasey-cemetery-ky/
  • https://www.haunted-places-to-go.com/haunted-huntsville.html
  • https://www.insider.com/urban-legends-us-2018-1#alabama-hells-gate-bridge-1
  • http://theghostdiaries.com/places-around-the-world-known-as-the-gates-of-hell/
  • https://gothamist.com/news/the-strange-history-of-nycs-mighty-hell-gate
  • https://www.historynet.com/world-war-ii-german-saboteurs-invade-america-in-1942.htm
  • https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/earth-without-people
  • https://www.timeout.com/newyork/attractions/hell-gate-bridge
  • https://boroughsofthedead.com/hell-gate-bridge-a-great-survivor/
  • https://www.stonehengenyc.com/blog/haunted-new-york
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PS_General_Slocum
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Evangelical_Lutheran_Church_of_St._Mark
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Germany,_Manhattan
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Germany,_Manhattan
  • https://www.nypl.org/blog/2011/06/13/great-slocum-disaster-june-15-1904
  • https://antiquephotographics.com/the-general-slocum-disaster-ny-harbor-1904/
  • https://stuffnobodycaresabout.com/2014/06/14/the-1904-general-slocum-disaster-had-survivors-that-lived-into-the-21st-century/
  • https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/a-spectacle-of-horror-the-burning-of-the-general-slocum-104712974/
  • http://behindthescenes.nyhistory.org/general-slocum-disaster-photos/
  • https://history.wikia.org/wiki/List_of_General_Slocum_victims
  • https://www.garemaritime.com/the-general-slocum/
  • https://thehauntedjournal.wordpress.com/2018/04/20/hell-gate-bridge/
  • https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/earth-without-people
  • https://www.historynet.com/world-war-ii-german-saboteurs-invade-america-in-1942.htm
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell_Gate_Bridge
  • https://ltvsquad.com/2005/05/13/hell-gate-bridge/

Articles RE: The General Slocum Disaster

  • TALES OF HORROR TOLD BY SURVIVORS: Eye-Witness Stories of Swift and Awful Panic. FAMILY PARTIES WIPED OUT Mrny Brave Deeds on Board the Doomed Steamboat Amid Scenes of Wild Panic. New York Times (1857-1922); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]16 June 1904: 2.

  • GRIEF-CRAZED CROWDS VIEW LINES OF DEAD: Scores Prevented from Throwing Themselves Into River. BOAT LOADS OF BODIES Immense Crowds Weeping and Struggling Seek to Identify Them. MANY PATHETIC INCIDENTS Measures Taken by Officials to Safeguard Interest of Relatives — Over $200,000 in Valuables Found on the Victims. New York Times (1857-1922); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]16 June 1904: 1.

  • 1,000 LIVES MAY BE LOST IN BURNING OF THE EXCURSION BOAT GEN. SLOCUM: St. Mark’s Church Excursion Ends in Disaster in East River Close to Land and Safety. 693 BODIES FOUND — HUNDREDS MISSING OR INJURED Flames Following Explosion Drive Scores to Death in the Water. FIERCE STRUGGLES FOR ROTTEN LIFE PRESERVERS The Captain, Instead of Making for the Nearest Landing, Runs the Doomed Vessel Ashore on North Brother Island in Deep Water — Many Thrilling Rescues — Few Men on Board to Stem the Panic of Women and Children.
    New York Times (1857-1922); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]16 June 1904: 1.

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