Past Made Present
An 1870 edition of The Historical Magazine records that the shoal was actually named after Colonel Wolfgang William Romer, who sounded the waters of New York Bay in 1700 on order of the governor of New York.
The steamer The Home ran aground on Romer Shoal on October 7, 1937 while leaving New York Bay. It lay grounded for several hours until high tide set the vessel free. Congress allocated $15,000 in 1837, and then another $10,000 in 1838, for the creation of a day-beacon to mark the shoal. Captain Winslow Lewis was chosen as the engineer to survey the area and select the site for the tower.
Captain Lewis surveyed the shoal and determined the position for the erection of a day-beacon, but after construction had started at the site, two naval officers complained that the tower was being built in the wrong place. Work was allowed to continue, but mariners were warned not to “run for the beacon, or they would infallibly get on shore.” Still, the misplaced daymark did help mariners avoid the underlying shoal.
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