S.S. Atlantus - Cape May, NJ
N 38° 56.667 W 074° 58.199
18S E 502601 N 4310612
Quick Description: 150 feet off the coast of Sunset Beach in Cape May, New Jersey, a strange structure sticks out of the water. This historic sign marks this curiosity. Simply park your car where NJ ends and after reading the sign, look out at the water.
Location: New Jersey, United States
Date Posted: 5/17/2008 4:43:42 PM
Waymark Code: WM3TR2
A sign by the edge of the road says that it is the remains of the S.S. Atlantus, one of twelve experimental ships built of concrete during the First World War, but "proven impractical because of weight." This brown sign replaces the old blue sign.
The concrete ship experiment was not quite the failure that the sign implied - another fleet was built during World War II.
The S. S. Atlantus is probably the most famous concrete ship. She was built by the Liberty Ship Building Company in Brunswick, Georgia and launched on December 5, 1918 and was the second concrete ship constructed in the World War I Emergency Fleet.
The war had ended a month earlier, but the Atlantus was used to transport American troops back home from Europe and also to transport coal in New England. In 1920, the ship was retired to a salvage yard in Virginia.
In 1926, the Atlantus was purchased by Colonel Jesse Rosenfeld to be used as ferry dock in Cape May, New Jersey for a proposed ferry between Cape May and Cape Henlopen, DE. The plan was to dig a channel into to the shore where the Atlantus would be placed. Two other concrete ships would be purchased to form a Y-shape where the ferry would dock.
In March 1926, the groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the construction of the ferry dock. The Atlantus was repaired and towed to Cape May. On June 8th, a storm hit and the ship broke free of her moorings and ran aground 150 feet off the coast of Sunset Beach. Several attempts were made to free the ship, but none were successful.
Since then the Atlantus has become a tourist attraction seen by millions. People used to swim out to the ship and dive off, until one young man drowned. At one time, a billboard was also placed on the ship. Starting in the late 50's, the ship began to split apart in the midsection.
Source: (visit link