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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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Belle Isle Ferry: 1906

Belle Isle Ferry: 1906

Circa 1906. "Belle Isle Park ferry dock, Detroit." The steamer Garland at the dock. Detroit Publishing Company glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Just for Shade?

Was there a "nautical" reason for the canvas covering across the bow of the ferry?

[The "nautical" reason for the canvas windscreen would be to keep the passengers' hats from setting sail. - Dave]

Neat but slightly creepy.

What a great image! I love the two young lads on either side of the pushcart. With their hats down over their brows, you can tell they are waiting to check out the young ladies who might be arriving on the ferry.

However, I must say that the shadowy figure on the far left gives me the creeps.

Killer boat!

In 1880, the Garland ran over a chartered yacht on the Detroit River and killed 17 people. Most of them were young boys.

Off in the distance.....

Way off in the distance on the left edge of the picture you can just make out a rail car ferry, the darker gray against the lighter gray of the shoreline - the twin stacks and the white deckhouse above the aft end are visible. Also, you can just make out "Woodward Avenue" on the edge of the building (partially obscured by the boat), so this dock was likely at the foot of Woodward, an area currently occupied by Hart Plaza, about 2 miles downriver from Belle Isle.


Since becoming a Shorpy addict it almost seems that you have to go back 100 years or so to enjoy class, beauty and style.

Bowled me over.

It's been a long time since one needed to take a steamer to reach
Belle Isle
. There are still a lot of things to see, one thing you probably won't see are so many bowler hats!

Only two lifeboats!

Great details of period clothing, but I cringe at the paucity of lifeboats. Of course, after Titanic, boats like these were required to carry more, which caused stability problems and may have contributed to the 1915 Eastland disaster in Chicago.

Not so shaky

I could not find specs for the Garland, but a sister in the fleet, the S.S. Pleasure, was listed at 140 feet long by 39½ wide with a 14-foot draft. A boat this size would probably displace about 1600 tons. Very stable.


I like the wreath for the namesake on top of the Wheel House

Don't shake the boat!

I love this picture, there are so many things to look at. But the biggest thing that I noticed is that boat appears to be really top heavy.

Simply marvelous.

Great shot of a slice of life long ago. The clothing and the hats! Everyone was just so civilized and proper. A far, far cry from today's world. It would be fun to send back one of the pierced and tattooed men or women of today, with spiked hair and tattered clothing, and here the gasps of horror and disbelief.

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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