Gorringe, Henry Honeychurch

Commodore Henry Honeychurch Gorringe (1841-1885) was born in the West Indies. He migrated to the United States, joined the U.S. Navy and served in the Civil War. He made the Navy his profession and commanded the USS Gettysburg. While mapping the ocean floor, he discovered what was named the Gorringe Sea Bank, located west of Portugal. Gorringe is most famous for bringing the obelisk called Cleopatra’s Needle to Central Park in New York from Alexandria, Egypt, in 1880. He retired from his 21-year naval career in early 1883, and embarked upon a brief stint as the manager of a shipbuilding facility in Philadelphia. Among those who helped him to capitalize the business was James A. Roosevelt. When the shipbuilding endeavor failed, Gorringe, a big game hunter, acquired the military encampment in Little Missouri, Dakota Territory, where he was part owner of the Pyramid Park Hotel.

It was partially in response to a conversation between Gorringe and Theodore Roosevelt in May of 1883 that Roosevelt decided to hunt bison in the Dakota Badlands. The two men planned a trip together, but only Roosevelt went.

Gorringe, who never married, died in 1885 and is buried in Rockland Cemetery in New York, with a replica of Cleopatra’s Needle on his grave.