Total destruction by fire of a luxurious paddle steamer


Destruction of the "Golden Gate" by fire and frightful loss of life
- from Annual Register, compiled by Pascal Kainic -

Intelligence has been received of the destruction by fire of the American paddle steamer "Golden Gate" of 2850 tons, while on her voyage from San Francisco to Panama. She was a very large and powerful steamer.

The "Golden Gate" left  San Francisco with 95 cabin and 147 second-class passengers, as well as 96 men as a crew. She also had an immense treasure of US$ 1.400.000 in gold bullion.

While 15 miles off Manzanilla, she was found to be on fire in the engine room. She was promptly headed for the shore only a short distance from.

The passengers were ordered to the forepart of the ship, which was yet free from the flames, but the fire spread with such rapidity that the communication with the stern was cut off and great numbers were burnt to death before the ship was run on the beach.

When this was accomplished, it seemed that the unhappy voyagers had only changed the manner of their death; for a dreadful surf broke upon the shore and rendered the chance of escape precarious. But there was no choice...

Every part of the ship was on fire and the despairing people were compelled to entrust themselves to the waves. Many of them perished; some got to land burnt and shattered; the shore was lined with corpses.

When assistance arrived, it was found that 72 of the passengers and 62 of the crew survived. In all, 204 perished or were missing.

The ship was utterly destroyed by the combined action of the fire and the breakers. By the total destruction of the framework, the massive iron boxes which contained the treasure, sunk into the sand, but  a large portion of it has been recovered by means of dredging and the diving apparatus.

Golden Gate on fire



  • hugo velarde
    • 1. hugo velarde On 07/08/2011
    hello, means that the gates of gold is a few yards offshore near the airport n Manzanillo, and is not, ie was recovered most of its cargo ?

    Know of some stories I have many teams in Mexico and found some detection equipment mineoro coins and want to keep looking. Best regards
  • Paul Tidwell
    • 2. Paul Tidwell On 10/11/2009
    The Golden gate was salvaged in the late 1860's.
    It's an interesting story...The details are in a criminal action named
    United States vs: Smiley.

    Paul Tidwell
  • john dwyer
    • 3. john dwyer On 06/03/2009
    any reference on the golden gate please contact me at my web address

Add a comment