Columbus Monuments Pages

Bahamas
San Salvador Island

East Beach

Chicago Monument



1891

San Salvador Island /  Chicago Monument   San Salvador Island /  Chicago Monument

Description

The Chicago Monument (Mile Marker No. 24, east coast).
Crude stone structure on a narrow piece of land between the ocean and the bay, with a marble plaque with inscription and a marble globe.

Inscription(s)

ON THIS SPOT
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS
FIRST SET FOOT ON THE SOIL OF
THE NEW WORLD.
ERECTED BY
THE CHICAGO HERALD
JUNE 15, 1891.

Annotation

The Chicago Tribune put up the first monument in 1891. With the four-hundredth anniversary of Columbus's landing fast approaching, two reporters, Walter Wellman and Charles Lederer decided the historic event should no longer remain unmarked. They chartered a schooner, loaded aboard 30 barrels of cement and, with three volunteers from the newspaper, sailed for Watling's Island. On the point of land closest to the Old World, at Crab Cay, they erected an edifice resembling a fireplace made of native stone interspersed with slabs of colored Italian marble. They centered it with a white marble orb and an inscribed plaque, then photographed it and left. Since then, for over 100 years, successions of tourists, who walk the East Beach and push their way through the heavy bush to the top of the point, gaze at these words.
Looking out to sea from this isolated monument, high above the water, they can see the treacherous reefs close to shore; smudged, brown shapes that seem to move as the dark-blue Atlantic's heavy ground swell surges back and forth. On a windy day the tourists will see that the offshore reef is marked by a white line of breakers, stretching down the island's east coast. The Carolina settlers named this Snow Bay because of the way the clouds of spray, tossed up by the surf, looked in the sunlight.
Today, as then, 40-foot pillars of coral rise from the sandy bottom. Even at high tide the ragged caps of staghorn and elkhorn coral are only a few feet below the surface--hardly a landing site for an organized expedition with an extended logis- tics line.

Sources & Information

Tags

Location N 24°3'51" W 74°25'58"

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Item Code: bs004; Added: 10 December 2006

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