Manhattan, NY

Buried Under 175 Water Street in New York City is An 18th Century British Merchant Ship

Yana Bostongirl

In 1982, the excavation of a preconstruction site at 175 Water Street in Manhattan, New York revealed the hull of an 18th-century merchant ship that was buried 21 feet under the street level.

Originally named Princess Carolina, the wreck was later referred to as the Ronson ship after Howard Ronson the developer of the site.

Reports suggest the ship could have been a transatlantic tobacco carrier that sailed between Chesapeake Islands and Britain. After being damaged in 1729, the Ronson ship was repurposed to be used as fill material during land expansion efforts and is believed to have been buried in the mid-eighteenth century as this excerpt explains: "Buried 15 feet below Water Street on what used to be the Manhattan waterfront, an 18th-century merchant ship has been unearthed. Examination has shown that the ship, which sailed the Caribbean in the early 1700's, was brought to shore some time after 1746 - the date on a ceramic top found below her decks."

While the stern of the Ronson ship still remains buried under the street, the bow was retrieved and is currently displayed at the Mariner's Museum in Newport News, Virginia as explained by this excerpt: "In 1985, after partial excavation and conservation, over 330 timbers from the ship’s bow structure were brought to The Mariners’ Museum, Figures 1-2 (Riess, 2015). After additional conservation, the timbers were placed in storage."

For those interested in knowing more about the Ronson ship including its discovery and excavation, t the head archaeologist of the Ronson ship excavation Warren Riess has a book out titled The Ship That Held Up Wall Street.

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