The replica Titanic in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. (Photo: Madison Berndt on Flickr)
Today marks the 103rd anniversary of the tragic maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic. The floating giant, full of hope and hubris, set sail on April 10th, 1912, embarking on a trip from Southampton, England to New York. Yet as everyone knows, this tour did not end well, as the ship hit an iceberg just four days after launch, and sank to the bottom of the ocean, claiming around 1,500 souls. In remembrance, you could simply fire up 1997 film, Titanic, and call it a day, but there a number of far more unique memorials around the world that look at the tragedy from their own angles.
1. TITANIC MEMORIAL LIGHTHOUSE
New York, New York
As you can see, the lighthouse now belongs to the South Street Seaport Museum. (Photo: (vincent desjardins) on Flickr)
Now if you want to know how to remember the Titanic right, take right from the Unsinkable Molly Brown. The most famous survivor of the Titanic insisted that this lighthouse be created to commemorate those who died in the crash. Originally the ball on top of the lighthouse would drop each day to signal that it was noon. The ball no longer works and the structure has been moved further inland, but the ironic symbolism of a beacon that helps ships avoid collisions is still easy to see.
Always trust a plaque for the full story. (Photo: Nightscream on Wikipedia)
2. TITANIC MUSEUM ATTRACTION
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Lookout for that iceber- aw, never mind. (Photo: Jared on Flickr)
Not content to just see a boring ole plaque and be sad for those who died? Well this Tennessee attraction lets you essentially enter a replica of the steamship, complete with artificial iceberg. While there is a somber memorial wall, the amusement park-like attraction also features scale replicas of the ship’s grand staircase and a kid’s section called the Tots-Titanic. The brightly-arranged informational displays are museum quality, but this replica ship is definitely there for those who are looking for a bit more spectacle in their memorial.
A disastrous amount of fun. (Photo: Joel Kramer on Flickr)
3. RMS TITANIC MEMORIAL
Queens, New York
You have likely never been as devoted as this to anything. (Photo: Jason Eppink on Flickr)
Erected on the facade of “Titanic Joe” Colletti, this homemade memorial let people remember the world’s largest steamship with one of its biggest fans. Colletti had been collecting clippings and ephemera related to the Titanic for years, even going so far as to contact some of the survivors. His eclectic little shrine was adorned with little porcelain angels and bits of newspaper, as well as a little scale description of the ship. This uniquely personal monument no longer stands as Colletti donated his collection of things to the Titanic Historical Society.
Far more touching than a heartless stone memorial. (Photo: Jason Eppink on Flickr)
4. ADDERGOOLE TITANIC MONUMENT
Later, guys. (Photo: Pamela Norrington on Geograph.org)
When the Titanic went down, over 1,000 people lost their lives, but no single location lost as much of their population in the disaster as Addergoole, Ireland. Known as the Addergoole 14, a small and tightly knit group of young people left the small parish, looking to emigrate to a more prosperous life in America. Eleven of the people from the town were killed, while three survived. But even this relatively small number of deaths still made a huge impact in the tiny, impoverished community. Today there is a memorial park dedicated to the disaster with a large bronze replica of the ship’s prow, and a historic church bell that is rung 14 times every April 15th.
5. TITANIC BANDSMEN MEMORIAL
Broken Hill, Australia
And the band played on. (Photo: Mattinbgn on Wikipedia)
Everyone has heard the story of the band that played while the Titanic sank, but few thought to make a memorial for the musicians. Well except for an Australian city half-a-world away from the tragedy. The city of Broken Hill has no direct connection to the musicians who died on the Titanic, but when news of the tragedy reached them, a group of local bandsmen erected a stone memorial in solidarity. The monument, which is designed in the classic “broken column” motif still stands today, although not many people in the area know why it’s there.
Most bands will never make it as big as this in the Australian market. (Photo: Amanda Slater on Flickr)
6. THE TITANIC MORTUARY BAG AT THE MARITIME MUSEUM OF THE ATLANTIC
I hope that red spot isn’t blood. (Photo: Luke Spencer on Atlas Obscura)
This is not a monument in and of itself, but the canvas body bag that is on display at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is maybe the most grimly specific reminder of the human toll the sinking of the Titanic took. The bag was used to ship home the body the ship’s steward E.J. Stone, and then to get his personal effects to his family. The bag is now in visible storage, but if you want to pay singular pilgrimage to the tragedy this is as good a place as any.
Considering how often I lose my luggage tags, its a miracle that this exists. (Photo: Luke Spencer on Atlas Obscura)