4. Titanic Memorial Lighthouse and Time Ball
New York City was the destination of the Titanic’s ill-fated voyage in 1912, and though most of the ship’s passengers never made it to New York’s shores, hundreds of survivors did. There are connections to the Titanic spread throughout Manhattan, from the former offices of the White Star Line and the Jane Hotel where surviving crew members were housed, to the South Street Seaport where you will find one of New York City’s memorials to the victims of the ship’s sinking.
The 60-foot tall Titanic Memorial Lighthouse and Time Ball was dedicated one year after the sinking of the Titanic, on April 15, 1913. It was originally mounted on top of the Seamen’s Church Institute at 25 Water Street. A time ball is an obsolete time signaling device that is dropped at a predetermined time, principally to enable navigators aboard ships offshore to verify the setting of their marine chronometers. Everyday at noon from its installation in 1913 until 1967, the Titanic time ball received a telegraphic signal from the Naval Observatory in Washington D.C and dropped halfway down the pole to indicate that the time was 12pm.
In July 1968 the Seamen’s Church Institute moved to 15 State Street and the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse was donated by the Kaiser-Nelson Steel & Salvage Corporation to the South Street Seaport Museum. It was erected at the entrance to the museum complex, on the corner of Fulton and Pearl Streets, in May 1976, with funds provided by the Exxon Corporation.