Our Little Town

The World Famous Shrine of St. Anthony

For our Catholic Sailors:



Photos of the Fire in 1960


St. Anthony of Padua, the Roman Catholic church commonly referred to as "The Shrine of St. Anthony," featured a chapel built in 1929 that was 35 feet underground.  It was world famous, probably the second most famous Catholic church in the New York City metropolitan area (after St. Patrick's Cathedral) and the most famous site ever in our little town even more famous than Nathan's Famous Roadside Rest. 

According to Richie Woods, author of Oceanside (the book), "It wasn't uncommon for 10,000 people to pilgrimage there each weekend."


But on March 25, 1960, the underground chapel was tragically destroyed by an electrical fire and was never rebuilt.  Of course, the fire was certainly no joking matter, but forgive me, folks; I can't resist this:  

The place literally burned up to the ground!! 





The photos of the fire shown above are courtesy of the Terrace Hose Co. #3,
Oceanside Volunteer Fire Department,


A brief eyewitness account received from one of our classmates after she viewed these photos:

I  remember that day like it was yesterday. The smoke was chocolate brown, and it blocked out the sky. What a shame! 

  Nancy Keegan

(Click here to read the story published March 31, 1960, in .)

Many did not know there was an earlier St. Anthony's fire in 1954:

More historical photos of St. Anthony's:











    You can read more about the history of St. Anthony's at www.sacli.org/history.


For your information, following is the "Top Ten" list of songs considered (and ruled out) before selecting the version of "Crying in the Chapel" as the music for this page:

10. "I Cried a Tear"

9.   "Tears on My Pillow"

8.   "Lonely Teardrops"

7.   "Tragedy"

6.   "Ain't That a Shame"

5.   "Chapel of Dreams"

4.   "Church Bells May Ring"

3.   "My Prayer"

2.   "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"

and the no. 1 song considered (and ruled out) for this page(Click here for the answer,)


Copyright 2001-2018 by Howard B. Levy and 1960 Sailors Association Inc.  All rights reserved.