The Florida Maritime Heritage Trail 
Coastal CommunitiesCoastal EnvironmentsCoastal FortsLighthousesHistoric PortsHistoric Shipwrecks

« Previous   

   Next »

City of Washington

City of Washington

Photo courtesy of Paul Caputo for the Florida Keys
National Marine Sancutary.

    A Pennsylvania-built, two-masted steel sailing vessel, City of Washington was launched in 1887 for use in passenger transport and cargo trade between New York, Cuba, and Mexico. In 1889, she was refitted with a 2,750 h.p. steam engine, which greatly reduced her sailing time. City of Washington’s moment in history came on the night of February 15, 1898, as she was moored in Havana harbor next to USS Maine. That night Maine suddenly exploded in a catastrophe that prompted the United States to declare war on Spain. Luckily, City of Washington’s crew were on hand to assist in the rescue of Maine’s survivors. During the Spanish-American War, she served as a troop transport, afterwards returning to the passenger and cargo trade. Converted to a coal barge, she was being towed from Norfolk to Havana in 1917 when she ran aground on Elbow Reef in the Florida Keys and became a total loss within a few minutes. The wreck of City of Washington lies in 25 feet of water, east of Key Largo at 25° 08.786’N and 80° 15.354’W, between mooring buoys E9 and E10. Marked by a spar buoy as part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Shipwreck Trail, the site offers numerous archaeological and biological features that make a visit well worthwhile.

Find out more:

General Information:
Check with local dive shops for location details.

Additional Links:

Indiana University
Pennekamp Dive Site
The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Communities | Environments | Forts | Lighthouses | Ports | Shipwrecks | Home