A section of the hull of the SS City of Salisbury, at the bottom of Boston Harbor, May 23, 2014.
Today we went for an adventurous dive off Graves Ledge to seek the wreck of the SS City of Salisbury, which struck an uncharted rock and sank 76 years ago this month.
Most of the wreck of the famed “Zoo Ship” was raised and sold for scrap metal, dynamited as a navigation hazard, or dragged across the bottom of Boston Harbor in the decades since the sinking.
The bow is said to be nearly intact, and a great dive spot, but we didn’t find it today. We did find the wreckage field, with sections of the hull of the 419-foot British freighter strewn about the bottom and alive with marine life.
It was a beautiful dive on a fine spring day, with great visibility. Take a look.
SS City of Salisbury wreckage at bottom of Boston Harbor, May 23, 2014.
1938: The SS City of Salisbury is broken in two on an uncharted part of Graves Ledge. Graves Light is seen in the upper left background.
The smokestack of the SS City of Salisbury snaps off as the hull of the wrecked steamer makes its final plunge. The bottom photo was taken minutes earlier. The photographer was aboard a US Coast Guard vessel.
Our unstoppable archivists have recovered dramatic photos of the salvage and sinking of the SS City of Salisbury.
The famous “Zoo Ship” sank 76 years ago today.
Graves Light Station has acquired the historic Associated Press photos of the 1938 shipwreck.
The vessel wrecked off Graves Ledge in April, its keel broken on an uncharted ledge. The big steamer sank the following month.
Most of the vessel’s cargo of exotic animals from India and Ceylon survived, and all the people on board escaped unharmed.
We have been scouring antique photo collections and old newspaper archives for images of wrecks, rescues and other events around Graves Light, and already had a number of original pictures from the SS City of Salisbury.
The earlier pictures appear on the shipwreck page on this site, and on our posting from last November.
The latest collection of eight original prints are from the Associated Press, acquired from a dealer in Tennessee.
The smokestack of the SS City of Salisbury snaps off as the hull of the wrecked steamer makes its final plunge.
‘Storm administers coup de grace’ is the news caption on this original 1938 photo from the archives of the San Francisco Examiner. We acquired the original from the Examiner archives.
The reverse of the 1938 news photo of the ‘coup de grace’ sinking of the SS City of Salisbury. This International News Photo is an original print from the archives of the San Francisco Examiner.
While rooting through old news archives, we found an original wire service photo of the sinking of the SS City of Salisbury, with Graves Light in the background.
We don’t mind posting pictures of this wreck, because nobody was hurt. So we’re particularly excited with our new find, which we acquired from the archives of the San Francisco Examiner.
Posted here is the original photo, and an image of the reverse, with the commentary from the International News wire service.