Speed Reads


Ship that sank 126 years ago discovered near Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park

More than 125 years after the City of Chester passenger steamer collided with another ship off of San Francisco, the wreckage has been discovered — for the second time.

It was originally found just two years after the incident, but authorities at the time decided not to bring the ship to shore. On Wednesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that the shipwreck had once again been tracked down near the Golden Gate Bridge, although there are still no plans to move it from its current state: encased in mud, 216 feet under the sea. Instead, NOAA is setting up a waterfront exhibit in San Francisco, at the headquarters of the Gulf of Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, to tell the ship's tale.

The City of Chester had just left San Francisco with 90 passengers on Aug. 28, 1888, when it hit the steamer Oceanic, coming in from Asia. Sixteen people died. Following the incident, the Chinese crew of the Oceanic was blamed for the accident, until word spread that the crew had rescued several of the City of Chester's passengers.

"Discoveries like this remind us that the waters off our shores are museums that speak to powerful events, in this case not only that tragic wreck, but to a time when racism and anger were set aside by the heroism of a crew who acted in the best traditions of the sea," James Delgado, director of maritime heritage for NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, told the Los Angeles Times.