June 15th marks the 106th anniversary of the General Slocum disaster, when a paddle steamer packed with mothers and children on a church trip caught fire in the East River.
More than 1,000 people, mainly residents of the East Village’s huge German community, perished.
Most New Yorkers know of the S.S. General Slocum. But who was General Slocum the man, and why did his name land on excursion boat associated with the greatest loss of life in city history, aside from 9/11?
After the war, he became a congressman from New York, then served as commissioner of public works for the city of Brooklyn.
When he died in 1894, thousands of Brooklynites paid their respects by lining the streets to watch his funeral procession go from his home on Clinton Avenue to Lafayette Street, South Oxford, Hanson Place, and then Fourth Avenue.
He was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery unaware of the horror that occurred aboard his namesake ship.
Tags: East River disasters, General Henry David Slocum, General Slocum disaster, Little Germany East Village, New York City disasters, New York greatest loss of life, New York in the Civil War, S.S. General Slocum