Tuesday, November 5, 2013
1907: White City Lake Fiasco
Trenton Evening Times, July 18, 1907
ADMIRAL LEE AND GALLANT CREW DESERT SHIP AND SWIM FOR LIVES
Ensign Green, Paymaster Hamill, Pilot Palmer, Deck Hand Blackwell and Assemblyman Barber and Local War Correspondent Retire Promiscuously and Riotously Under Hot Fire and Find the Water Fine
After being under the hottest kind of fire for two and a half minutes last night, Admiral Francis B. Lee and crew of the flag ship "White City" were forced to desert the ill fated battle ship and swim for the nearby friendly shores.
The flag ship "White City" was leading the water pageant on White City Lake. It was the most gaily decorated craft on the lake and in addition it was one of the boats selected to assist in making the fireworks display in connection with the event. The admiral had purchased a new admiral's cap for the occasion and took his seat proudly in the bow of his gallant ship looking every inch the brave naval hero that he ultimately proved himself to be.
Admiral Lee volunteered to hold the roman candles, red fire sticks, sky rockets and other fireworks on his lap while the officers and crew were making the display. Down the easterly shore of the lake glided the flag ship while thousands on the shore cheered madly, so imposing was the spectacle of the gallant admiral and his heroic crew surrounded by a blaze of red light and shooting rockets.
But the triumph of the admiral and his flagship was fated to be short lived. As the "White City" ploughed its way passed the applauding spectators to the far end of the lake, a stray spark from a roman candle fell in the admiral's lap full of fireworks and almost in an instant the flagship became the greatest Fourth of July spectacle ever witnessed in this city. Sky rockets, roman candles, fire crackers and red fire all broke out at one in the maddest and merriest powder war imaginable.
(to be continued)