One of the cool things to do in Cape May is to visit the concrete ship at the Point.
The scarcity of steel during World War I spurred San Francisco businessman William Leslie Comyn to build ships out of a counter-intuitive substitute — concrete. The same stuff that was used to fashion cement overshoes for Mob victims actually floats when it’s shaped like a boat.
The S.S. Atlantus was one of a dozen concrete ships that were built, and it criss-crossed the Atlantic several times, hauling cargo and troops. But when steel again became available, the S.S. Atlantus was mothballed.
In 1926 she was docked in Cape May when a storm broke her loose and ran her aground, just off of Sunset Beach. She couldn’t be pried off of the bottom because she was made of, well, concrete. For the last 90+ years her slowly crumbling hulk has been a tourist attraction, although not much of her is left above water.
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