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SS Morro Castle on fire n 1934 off the Asbury Park shore. Painting by Jack Bredin, November 2016. © Photograph by Rob Bredin.

SS Morro Castle on fire in 1934 off the Asbury Park shore. Painting by Jack Bredin, November 2016. © Photograph by Rob Bredin.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

Jack Bredin is a well known artist who specializes in scenes of Ocean Grove.  His work is on display at the Ocean Park Gallery on Cookman Avenue in Asbury park.  Here is a link to another recent work  of Jack’s from this past summer:

https://blogfinger.net/2016/07/19/artist-jack-bredin-the-auditorium-pavilion-in-ocean-grove-new-jersey/

The SS Morro Castle was an ocean liner in the 1930’s.  It ran back and forth between New York City and Havana. On September 8, 1934, during a return trip from Cuba with 571 passengers and crew on board, the ship caught fire about 8 miles off Long Beach Island.  Very quickly it became enveloped by the flames.  The crew was ill prepared for a shipboard fire, and many people jumped into the water. In the end, about 137 people died of drowning or fire. Some bodies floated ashore at Pt. Pleasant and Manasquan.

After the ship was empty, an attempt was made to tow it away, but it drifted loose and went aground near Convention Hall in Asbury Park.  It stayed there for about 6 months where it was a tourist attraction.  Then it was towed away and scrapped.

Jack Bredin’s  folk-painting style is to add a bit of poetic license to his works, so the facts may not be exactly correct—thus the ship burning off Asbury Park.

Here is a video which is quite interesting:

www.aphistoricalsociety.org/morro_castle.html

The Morro Castle was returning from Cuba, so here is a sample of the sort of music that the band on the ship might have played on that fateful night:

DON AZPIAZU and the HAVANA CASINO ORCHESTRA

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