Gate City Wrecked On Long Island
By James Donahue
The Gate City was carrying passengers and a cargo of cotton and molasses bound from Savannah, Georgia to Boston when
it ran hard aground on Long Island, just east of Moriches Inlet, in dense fog on February 8, 1900.
The steamer went aground at about 9 p.m. Local lifesavers sent a long boat out to the scene and removed some of the
passengers, but the crew remained on board at first, believing that the ship could be pulled free of the bar.
When a storm blew up lifesavers later used a breeches buoy to bring the crew ashore.
The 254-foot steam-powered freighter was built of iron and consequently was a heavy monster that displaced nearly 2,000
gross tons. Even removing the cargo to a stand-by lighter didn’t give the old ship enough buoyancy for tugs to pull
it back into deep water.
Consequently the Gate City became a stationary object of curiosity for New Yorkers for a few years. The shifting sands,
however, slowly built up around the rusted old hulk until it was completely covered and then forgotten.
A winter gale in 1979 moved the sand around some more and the wreck was exposed once more. The Gate City still remains
visible today in about 25 feet of water.