College Point & The General Slocum Disaster

On Saturday June 8th the Poppenhusen Institute hosted a presentation by Eugene Boesch, on “The General Slocum” disaster, which took place on June 15th, 1904. The General Slocum was a side wheeler that was taking parishioners from St. Marks Evangelical Church, of the Lower East Side, on an outing to the North Shore of Long Island. Almost immediately after its departure a fire broke out- and disaster struck. When all was said and done of the 1,358 mostly women and children on board, only 321 survived. There are several links between the General Slocum disaster and College Point. The first being Kleinerts Rubber Company’s whistle which normally announced the noontime hour. However, it also served the purpose of alerting the community to emergency situations. When the General Slocum caught on fire and was sinking the whistle blew calling boat owners of all sizes to assist with the rescue. Many responded to that call. Another link between College Point and the General Slocum tragedy is the fact that some of the children who lost their parents during that disaster, would come to live at the Bethlehem Orphanage, one of the two that were located  in this community.

The following article from “The Sun”, newspaper is an article about the orphanage which was down here by the Institute. It eventually would become Bryancully’s (sic) coat factory.

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