JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

Shorpy members who are Patreon contributors get an ad-free experience! (Mostly -- there's still an ad above the comments.) Sign up or learn more.

Savannah: 1905

Savannah: 1905

Circa 1905. "The docks at Savannah." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

The Cadsby

is the vessel in the center of the picture opposite the liner in the foreground. In the Cadsby photo, the vessel seen in the background may be the same as in the original, not sure.

Steady as she goes

The sails on the ship to the left were probably only used as a staysail to stop the boat from badly rolling in swells, as there seems to be lots of rigging and substantial shrouds to get in the way of efficiently using wind power as a backup if the engine conked out -- you wouldn't want all your passengers too seasick.

Re: Coaling at Savannah

What a dirty and labor-intensive job that was! Looks like there might be as many as a dozen or so men on that barge next to the ship, including one at the bottom of the ladder. There is no sign of any motorized vessel in the area, so I guess they had to use a combination of wenches and lines from the ship, along with sheer manpower, to maneuver the barges around as they were emptied.

The mechanical bucket, scuttle, collier, or whatever it was called, looks as though it had to be filled manually in the barge (as opposed to a clamshell-type contraption). Even with that many hands working, moving that much coal had to be a back-breaking task. But I guess people back then were accustomed to such.

[If any wenches were used, it wasn't for coaling. - Dave]

Gone To History

I tried finding this location, but the port of Savannah has changed so much that it is impossible. This area is likely under where the Talmadge Bridge now is.

Coaling at Savannah

As one always interested in the early 20th century coal economy (e.g. Berwind's Eureka Coal), any chance for an application of ShorpyZoom on the coal barges in this photo?


That passenger/packet freighter sure has the sleek lines of that time. I like that architecture! It must have taken a long time to shovel all that coal from the barges into the bunkers of the ship.

[Coaling was accomplished with a mechanical conveyor, seen here in its raised position. - Dave]

I didn't notice the conveyer. That will speed things up a lot but the end is really nasty like using the grain legs in Buffalo, NY.

I can't decide if I like the ships more or the mishmash of rooflines in this photo!

Potential Disaster In Savannah?

I should have gone into a little more detail in my earlier comment. I really wish that smoke/steam was not obscuring the view of the locomotive as much as it is.

The tender appears to have derailed in the middle of the street. It looks as though it might have become detached from the engine. If so, and the water supply to the engine was interrupted, then everybody in the area should be running for their lives. I've posted some photos to my Flickr site of a 1948 boiler explosion that illustrates what happens when a steam locomotive runs out of water while the firebox is hot:

Also, notice that something has happened to the boxcar on the left side of the street, causing its load to shift and push its door out at the bottom. It looks like it might be loaded with bales of cotton. This poses a great dilemma for the railroad, since the door is barely hanging on and could fall off at any time. Those things are heavy. The car is half blocking the street, and it can only be moved with the greatest care, perhaps it can't be moved at all until the problem is fixed.

Meanwhile, all of this has blocked the rail access to this entire area, meaning that until these problems are solved, these extremely busy docks cannot be serviced.

Savannah Docks, Detroit's finished product

A 1904 postcard from the Detroit Photographic Company, titled, "Ocean Steamship Co's Docks, Savannah, Ga." from the New York Public Library Collection.

The faded message is dated March 30, 1906, and reads:

"Margaret & Irene, Arrived here this morning, we had a fine trip, been doing Savannah all day. We found it a lovely place and the weather like July in New York. Oh, it is just lovely. We take train to Atlanta tonight. Marie & John"

Steam and Sail.

Looks like the need to get that coal onboard to stop the listing to port! Not too much cargo goes on board this ship, only one noticeable cargo hatch forward towards the bow and only one crane to service it. And yes this ship does have sails as well. You can see a furled sail on the aft mast. Back in those days sails were breakdown insurance and used to help supplement steam power.

Re: Interesting ship

I posted a link to the photo on the Southern Railway Historical Society Yahoo group, and one of the members, Bob Hanson, a resident of Georgia, posted the following comment:

"The ship on the left taking coal appears to be either the City of Atlanta or the second City of Columbus (sister ships) of the Ocean Steamship Company of Savannah, a subsidiary of the Central of Georgia Railway."

Interesting ship

Cabins all around, but the way it is riding high in the water it seems to wait for bulk cargo as well. I wonder what it was and how it got stowed on board. No big conspicuous cargo hatches I could see.


A Pepsi-Cola sign.

Is something amiss?

Looks like there has been a derailment in the middle of the street.

Syndicate content is a vintage photography site featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago. Contact us | Privacy policy | Site © 2021 Shorpy Inc.