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image of Gateway to Bethlehem – Burning Basin

Gateway to Bethlehem – Burning Basin

The lock-like burning basin in the back of Mallows Bay was constructed by Bethlehem Steel in late 1942 or early 1943. The area was modified with the intention of holding 15 hulls at once. The gate was just wide enough to permit one hull at a time to be floated into the basin. The water was then to be pumped out, the vessel burned and the metal retrieved. However, the first 11 vessels that floated into the basin sank into the soft bottom when the water was removed and proved extremely difficult to burn. Only one other vessel is known definitively to have been scrapped before operations ceased mostly by September 1944 and completely by January 1945. It had not proven a cost-effective endeavor.