The USS Monitor is launched from Greenpoint, 1862

Today marks the 157 year anniversary of Jan 30th, 1862, the day Greenpoint staked its claim in history as the site where the ironclad USS Monitor was built and launched, in the midst of the Civil War.

USS Monitor Memorial statue in McGolrick Park

The Greenpoint Monitor Memorial is in McGolrick park. It depicts a nude sailor and was erected in 1938 in the memory of John Ericsson and the lost crew members. Any guess what Monitor Street was named after?

Monitor on the James River, Virginia, 1862 Officers on deck (left to right): Robinson W. Hands, Louis N. Stodder, Albert B. Campbell (seated), William Flye (with binoculars). Note dents in turret from cannon fire. (Photo courtesy U.S. Library of Congress)

The vessel was constructed at Continental Iron Works and designed by the Swedish-born engineer and inventor, John Ericsson. The innovative design captured the attention of the world and became famous for battling the USS Merrimack of Virginia in the Battle of Hampton Roads, which lasted four hours and was the first stand-off between two armored warships. Neither ship could destroy the other, although many cannon shots were fired.

“The Monitor and Merrimac: The First Fight Between Ironclads”, a chromolithograph of the Battle of Hampton Roads, (Louis Prang & Co., Boston)
A rendering of the Monitor Museum restored shoreline, via Brooklyn Paper in 2015

The future Greenpoint Monitor Museum at 56 Quay St. received a grant in 2015 from the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund to build a museum honoring the USS Monitor on the shores of Bushwick Inlet. The project requires a restoration of the ecological shoreline, and the museum has been working with design and engineering firm AECOM to make it happen.


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  1. 01/30/2019 (Buxton, Maine)

    Absolutely amazing! I grew up on Huron Street in the early 60s and never knew that the Monitor was our Nation’s first iron clad war ship (built in my hometown of Greenpoint) until I attended John Ericsson junior high school in the late 60s. I moved to Maine in the 80s, became very interested in history which lead me antique bottle collecting. I am now a dealer and seek pre-1900 hand blown bottles from Greenpoint and the borough of Brooklyn in general. There is a specific ink bottle patented in 1865 which is known as a Monitor Ink. It has a remarkable resemblance to the gun turret of the Monitor. In any case, thanks for posting a brief history of the ship. Enjoyed reading it.

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