Photograph taken about twenty-seven years ago and furnished by Frank J. Burke of the Bronx shows Mrs. Burke standing beside the U.S.S. Holland when the craft was on exhibit at Starlight Park in the Bronx.
Japanese May Have Fired Back
U.S. Navy's First Submarine
Sun's Inquiry Into Missing Craft Brings
Assertion by Harlem Dealer That He
Cut Holland Up for Scrap
By MORDAUNT HALL
Not a vestige is left of the United States Navy's first sub- marine, the Holland, the ninth and most successful craft of its kind built by the inventor, John P. Holland. Chopped to bits and melted down, she may, for all that is known, have been fired back by the Japs at American warships.
world war. I bought them too."
"The scrap metal of the sub-
marine was mixed with Inter-
borough rails and metal we re-
ceived from a number of places.
You mention relics - sentiment
and all that. Nothing doing
here! I'm no idol worshipper.
With me it was just a matter
of an old boat with some good
metal. Who knows? She may
have been part of a scrap metal
load that went to Japan."
Dewey Watched Test.
The Holland, 53 feet long, with a 10 foot beam, underwent a test on the Potomac in 1900 witnessed by Admiral George Dewey. She was stricken from the Navy's list in 1910.
The forty eighth anniversary of
the purchase of the historic Hol-
land by the Navy occurred yes-
terday, at a time when the Navy
is giving intense study to the
submarine and means of com-
batting it. Submarines sank 23,-
351,000 tons of Allied shipping in
the recent war. Congress has
made appropriations for the
Navy to build four prototype sub-
marines in which the latest
German developments will be
It has been fairly definitely es- tablished by the New York Sun that the "Mother of All Subma- rines" was bought for $100 by a Harlem metal concern more than eighteen years ago from the own- ers of Starlight Park, the Bronx, where she was on exhibition.
Following an inquiry to this newspaper from Frank Wuttge Jr. of 1088 Fox Street, the Bronx, con- cerning the fate of the subma- rine - the information being want- ed for a Bronx historical guide. The Sun printed last January an article on the mysterious disap- pearance of the craft.
So much interest was aroused by the story that The Sun decid- ed to find out what actually had happened to the Holland.
Hundreds of Inquiries Made.
Hundreds of inquires were made by telephone and mail to museums, Navy activities, histori- cal societies and scrap deal- ers. But the task of ascertaining the fate of a submarine, last seen about eighteen years ago on dry land in the Bronx, proved to be
no easy matter. Many who might
have been able to give informa-
tion had died.
Finally, William May of Schla- voni-Bonomo, a Jersey City scrap metal concern, said that the Lu- ria Steel & Trading Corpora- tion might know something about the Holland. However, they didn't, but suggested asking Wil- liam Hundt of Luria Brothers & Co. of 233 Broadway, a veteran in the scrap metal industry.
"I wouldn't be surprised that the Harlem Metal Corporation bought her," Hundt said. "Ask Louis Gerson."
The Purchaser Remembers.
Just the mention of the sub- marine to Gerson, president of the Harlem Metal Corporation, at 139th street and the East River, elicited, quick as a flash, the in- formation that he had bought the craft from the Starlight Park owners. He had no records to prove it, as they are destroyed every six years, but he remem- bered that he and his men cut the Holland to pieces with an acetylene torch on the park grounds.
"She had already been cut into three pieces before to make her transportation easier and the openings were covered with tape," said Gerson. "We cut her into pieces of a size that could easily be put on trucks. Later the metal was chopped up much smaller by alligator shears."
"At the time I made the deal, the park people also offered me some old cannon of the first
About six years after, the late
Austin Flint Gibbons and his
father, Dr. Peter J. Gibbons, then
of this city, tried to save the Hol-
land from the scrap heap, but the
submarine was bought for scrap
by Henry A. Hitner's Sons Com-
pany of Philadelphia. Colman E.
Hitner, a former partner, sent
The Sun a photograph of the Hol-
land taken outside a Philadelphia
commercial museum. He said his
firm subsequently sold the sub-
marine and she was sent to the
Million Dollar Pier at Atlantic
City as an exhibit. After that he
lost track of the Holland.
Frank J. Burke of 2544 Valen- tine Avenue, the Bronx, sent a picture of his wife taken with the submarine as a background, while the craft was at Starlight Park. Burke said that the picture was taken about 27 years ago. The Holland, he said, then was a center of interest something like the Statue of Liberty and the Singer Building.