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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Pier 4: 1905

Pier 4: 1905

Circa 1905. "C. & O. terminal piers, Newport News, Virginia." The Kanawha in port. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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I'm surprised that no one has asked where the name "Kanawha" came from. Well, it was given to the county in WV by the Indians. The C&O made their fortunes in Kanawha County, due to the abundance of coal in the region. But the name itself translates to water way or canoe way. Naturally other scholars have other meanings also.

Chesapeake Bay steamboat

Can anyone recognize which company the Chesapeake Bay steamer in the background belongs to? The funnel has a diamond shape insignia. I know that the C & O had its own boats, but this could have been another company like The Old Bay.

Steamship Kanawha

Marine Engineer and Naval Architect, December 1, 1893.

Kanawha—On November 24th the last of three large cattle steamers, built by Messrs. Alex. Stephen, & Sons for the Chesapeake and Ohio Steamship Co., Limited, of London, was launched at Linthouse. These vessels have already been fully described. The dimensions are 370 ft., by 44 ft., by 31½ ft., the gross tonnage about 4,000 tons, and the cylinders 28 in., 46 in and 75 in. diameter by 54 in. stroke. The vessels are are built in excess of the requirements for the highest class in Lloyd's and besides large measurement for deadweight cargoes, each ship has very special and superior arrangements for carrying 760 live cattle. The new ship was gracefully named the Kanawha by Mrs. Glynn, wife of John Glynn Esq. Liverpool, who mentioned that the record in the cattle trade between Newport News and this country was at present held by the sister ship Shenandoah, and he hoped that one of the three would hold it till the record was broken by another ship by the same builders for the same owners. The Kanawha will take her place early this month in this service, under command of Captain Maxwell

The Baltimore Sun, October 4, 1894.

Newport New, Va.,—The Chesapeake and Ohio steamship Appomattox arrived in port yesterday from London, bringing a large cargo. The Kanawha, of the same line, sailed this morning for Liverpool, with several hundred cattle and a general cargo.

Washington Post, July 25, 1899.

Boston,—The steamer Kanawha from Newport News, before reported aground on the Upper Middle, was assisted off at high water last night, after lightering seventy-five tons of coal. The steamer is badly hogged at the main rigging and otherwise strained, and is leading slightly. She was aground for nearly seventy hours.

Washington Post, October 10, 1899.

Newport New, Va.,—Capt. W.J. Maxwell, of the steamship Kanawha, which arrived today from London, reports that the boatswain of his ship was lost overboard on the voyage over, or rather he disappeared several days ago, and has not been seen since. As the weather was exceedingly rough, the captain thinks he was washed over the rail by one of the heavy seas which swept the decks of the Kanawha.

The Baltimore Sun, August 12, 1906.

Yesterday the steamer Kanawha, Captain Maxwell, arrived from Middelsboro, England, with a cargo of pig and spiegel iron, which will be discharged at Locust Point for shipment to the interior. From here the Kanawha, which is one of the Chesapeake and Ohio Line Steamers, will go to Newport News to load for Liverpool.

The Baltimore Sun, November 1, 1906.

Newport New, Va.,—The British ship Kanawha arrived in port today to load a second cargo of horses, mules and equipment for the army in Cuba. Captain Maxwell states that the report that his ship was damaged and lost her foremast during the storm on the way to Cuba was without foundation.

The very interesting steamer

in the foreground is the Kanawha, launched 24 November 1893 at the Linthouse, Scotland, yard of Alexander Stephens & Sons, Ltd., yard number 346 for the Chesapeake & Ohio Steamship Co., Ltd., of London, England. Yes, you read that correctly. The American railroad established this British subsidiary in October 1893 to operate the Kanawha and two other Stephens-built sisters, the Shenandoah and Rappahannock, in a freight service between Newport News, Virginia, and London and Liverpool, the venture managed by the famous British shipowner Furness, Withy & Co., Ltd. The C & O sold its 60% interest in the firm to its English stockholders in 1906. The Kanawha is shown berthed at the C & O's Pier No. 4 at Hampton Roads, which had a capacity of over a thousand standard railway freight cars. The three sisters each had space for 760 head of cattle, an important aspect of their trade. Sold to French interests at Cherbourg in 1922 and renamed Georgette, she was broken up at Spezia, Italy, the following year. Her sisters were both victims of U-boats in 1916.

No Smoking

No wonder! This entire area was covered in a fine coating of coal dust courtesy of the coal loading pier in the background. It was a busy one; more coal originated on C&O branches in Kentucky and West Virgina than on any other railroad in the US. Colliers from here would sail for New England or Europe.

One of six sixes

It'd be nice to know which six-masted schooner is sitting out there. At the time of this photo (1905) only six of them had been built in the US, and only four more would be. Quite surprisingly, it only took about a dozen men to crew them.

One of six sixes at the time...

...if the photo is indeed circa 1905, so it would have been one of the first six listed at:

Steam Donkeys

Not only was it schooner rigging that made some of these sail easier, but it was also the use of steam donkeys. In a very real sense, some of the largest 6 and 7 masters were automated, thanks to steam engines setting the rigging.

One of the largest of them all, the 6 master Wyoming, sailed with a crew of only 11 hands. Alas, the Wyoming was just about as large as a wooden hulled sail ship could get. In the right sailing conditions, if the rudder was steered to turn left, the Wyoming's hull would just warp to the right, and the ship would pretty much continue going straight.

Six Master Schooner!

What a marvelous collection of schooners in the outer harbor. Three masters, four, and even a six master. There was only one seven master ever built. These ships were cheaper to operate than square rigged ships, as the schooner rigging needed fewer sailors to trim.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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