Last week the citizens of Gotham were disturbed to see a ship "sinking" in the waters around New York. This week in San Francisco, residents were shocked to see a long-lost shipwreck re-emerge from its watery tomb.
During a low tide on Monday, the wooden skeleton of the sunken ship mysteriously appeared above the waterline on San Francisco's Ocean Beach, not far from the city's zoo. Tourists and beachcombers were befuddled by the sight, but government officials were hot on the case. According to the San Francisco Chronicle:
A historian for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area said the wreckage was surely that of the three-masted clipper ship King Philip, which was built in Maine in 1856. According to the records, which are frequently less romantic than the speculation, the ship spent much of its career carrying bird manure fertilizer around the world. In its last years, it carried lumber from the Pacific Northwest to San Francisco.
On Jan. 25, 1878, it was towed by a tug through the Golden Gate, then laid anchor to allow the tug to assist a nearby vessel in distress, according to historian Stephen Haller. The anchor didn't hold, however, and the King Philip drifted onto the sand at Ocean Beach, where it foundered.
Fortunately, everyone got off safely, which could be why the King Philip never got the fuss made over it as did a certain other vessel that hit an iceberg 34 years later.
The King Philip made a brief appearance in 1980, Haller said, when El Niño currents washed away an unusually large amount of sand. But no one had seen the ship since.
(Above: The wreck of the King Philip emerges from Ocean Beach. Photo by David Gallagher)