Thomas Tracy wrecks in Rehoboth Sept. 14, 1944

September 13, 2022

The 250-foot freighter Thomas Tracy was blown ashore at Brooklyn Avenue in Rehoboth Beach Sept. 14, 1944, during a tropical hurricane off the coast. Today, the site of the wreck is the beach in front of Funland. The Morning News reported the storm brought 75 mph winds and large waves. The crew of 33 men was rescued with a breeches buoy by the Coast Guard.

In the weeks following the wreck, the owners of the vessel, M and J Tracy Inc., sought bids to remove the ship from the Rehoboth sand. An ad in the The Morning News Oct. 3, 1944, says bids would be received until Oct. 10, with a requirement that the ship be removed by March 1, 1945. Pieces of the wreckage were still present in June 1945, when a group of 100 residents petitioned town commissioners to set up a new beach section because the area around Brooklyn and Delaware avenues was no longer fit for bathers and “a menace to their safety and comfort.” In September 1945, an article reports the last of the wreckage was recently removed.  An October 1945 article notes that an oar and steering wheel from the Thomas Tracy were donated to the Rehoboth Art League. Other reports say two auctions were held in the fall of 1944, when people from all over came to Rehoboth to bid on salvaged equipment from the ship. 

The Thomas Tracy came ashore on top of the remains of the barge Merrimac, which grounded during a storm in April 1918.


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