In the 19th century, the Blue Point Beach on Fire Island
was an equal opportunity wreck site.
Raging gales drove ships of every type and nation onto the outer bar,
some never to be seaborne again.
One such luckless vessel was the German tanker-steamer Gluckauf,
driven aground on March 25, 1982, or the same date in 1893 (accounts vary).
The ship, said to be the world's first bulk oil carrier
(though fortunately nearly empty at the time),
worked its way too far up the beach to be towed off.
Hard-working surfment from the Blue Point Life-Saving Station
near the community of Water Island rescued the crew by breeches buoy.
Wrecking tugs managed to dislodge the ship on April 7
and were towing it to sea when the hawser broke
and the Gluckauf came permanently ashore,
according to an eyewitness account in "Wrecks and Rescues on Long Island"
by Van B. Field.
The unlucky Gluckauf [leave it alone, lady],
its stern sunk in the sand and its bow up,
became a Fire Island tourist attraction.
Visitors posed on or near the vessel,
as seen in the Benjamin T, West photo above.
In about 1900, junk dealers built a narrow-gauge railroad
over the beach hills and, using horse-drawn carts,
removed everything they coul dstrip.