History buffs celebrate Brooklyn-built warship’s 150th anniversary

History buffs celebrate Brooklyn-built warship’s 150th anniversary
Photo provided by Janice Weinmann

Many people celebrate parades with floats, but history-loving North Brooklynites prefer to celebrate things that float with parades.

Civil War reenactors and history buffs will converge this weekend on the Greenpoint waterfront to honor the shipbuilders and crew who constructed and launched the USS Monitor — the first ironclad ship commissioned by the US Navy — 150 years ago.

The boat is best known for protecting the Union on Mar. 9, 1862 during the Battle of Hampton Roads, the first ever fight between two ironclads.

That skirmish ended in a draw and the Monitor sunk later that year during a storm, but the boat has not been forgotten by locals, even after North Brooklyn’s shipyards closed down.

Starting Saturday, history geeks will come together for a three-day celebration of the Monitor’s legacy packed with parades, church services, concerts and a wreath-laying ceremony at McGolrick Park.

The weekend will crest on Sunday afternoon with a march to the Quay Street site where the Monitor set off, led by ancestors of the ship’s builders dressed in Civil War uniforms.

The events promise to be loaded with Civil War-inspired programming — but not Civil War-era weaponry.

“We would have liked to have a cannon but there are fuel tanks right across the inlet so we can’t really do too much over there,” said Greenpoint resident Janice Weinmann, who hopes the 150th anniversary celebration will galvanize support behind a long-stalled effort to build a history museum for the Monitor on Quay Street.

The 150th Anniversary of the Launch of the USS Monitor, Jan 28-30 in Greenpoint. For more info, www.greenpointmonitormuseum.org.

Reach reporter Aaron Short at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2547.