Artist's depiction of the flaming ocean liner.
Artist's depiction of the flaming ocean liner.

Morro Castle Disaster Memorial

Field review by the editors.

Asbury Park, New Jersey

Most people know the sad story of the Titanic. A few have even visited its Kate Winslet-inspired memorial in Washington, DC.

Memorial.

But the Atlantic had other Ships of Hell -- such as the Morro Castle. This doomed ocean liner's infamous pedigree has been etched into polished black granite, at the spot where its burned-out hulk drifted ashore in Asbury Park, New Jersey, on September 8, 1934.

As the memorial asserts, it was "one of the greatest maritime disasters in American history."

The Morro Castle was 13 miles off shore when it was caught in a storm, its captain died of a heart attack, and then a big fire broke out, fueled by the ship's thickly-painted wooden decks. 137 passengers and crew perished.

"The still-burning Morro Castle beached itself in Asbury Park," reads the text on the memorial, "and became a major tourist attraction" -- which is something that the deep-sixed Titanic never accomplished. In fact, the Morro Castle shares its closest calamity kinship with the Nazi airship Hindenburg: fire, death, 1930s, big floating thing, New Jersey.

The Morro Castle Memorial occupies prime real estate just south of Asbury Park's Convention Hall, next to the boardwalk and the Greek Orthodox "Man of Love" statue. It was unveiled on the 75th anniversary of the ship's unscheduled arrival.

Morro Castle Disaster Memorial

Address:
1240 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park, NJ
Directions:
On the east side of Ocean Ave., at the intersection of 5th Ave., on the south side of Conventional Hall between Ocean Ave. and the boardwalk.
Save to My Sights

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In the region:
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