Saturday, April 23, 2011

Steamship Great Britain at Coney Island - August 10, 1845

Besides the story itself, this article cites how people have been going to Coney Island on Sundays in particular since at least 1845.

From the New York Morning News of August 11.

Yesterday, at noon precisely, the great monster steamer, the "Great Britain," was telegraphed, and the anxiety which has been visible in this city for some days past in relation to her became at once intense. The word passed from mouth to mouth that this extraordinary vessel was entering our harbor, and thousands rushed to the Battery, the Brooklyn heights, and every other spot which would afford a favorable view of her, as she proceeded to her dock in the East River. As is usual on Sundays a large part of the population of this city has resorted to Staten Island, Coney Island, and other places favorable for relaxation and healthful exercise, and as a consequence a greater number were gratified with a sight of the Great Britain than could have been at any other time. All the piers, too, from the Battery to the Atlantic steamship pier, at the foot of Clinton street, were likewise crowded by anxious thousands whose wonder and astonishment was loudly expressed as they saw and comprehended her vast proportions and beautiful sailing qualities. At each of her six masts was flying the flag of some European nation, and one which was a combination of the English and the United States, in beautiful unity....

--Le Courrier de la Lonisiane - August 19, 1845

Per the fascinating history at, the ship evidently was an early use of screw propulsion, and was initially designed to transport passengers across the Atlantic in luxury. It was used to transport troops, retrofitted into a sailing ship, and eventually used to haul coal.

Incredibly, the ship is now a museum!

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