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About the Photos

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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Buffalo Dredging: 1905

Buffalo Dredging: 1905

Circa 1905. "Waterworks and Niagara River, Buffalo, N.Y." Panorama made from three 8x10 inch glass negatives. Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

Childhood memory

The right side of this picture includes the Black Rock Canal, while the left side is the Niagara River. As a child in the '60s (long after this picture was taken) we boys would fish from this breakwall. The local rowing club would practice in the canal as well. I believe that the canal was an extension of the old Erie Canal that brought barges down from Lockport and North Tonawanda into the port of Buffalo. Wow, talk about a bygone era!! Buffalo was one of the ten largest cities in the US at the time of this picture.

Spud barge

The dredge is built on a spud barge. The legs drop by gravity and are not driven into the bottom by any other force. The barge coukd not jack itself up on them, as is done with some modern drill rigs.

The picture appears to be taken from the Bird Island Pier, looking north along the Black Rock Channel toward the International Railway Bridge (on the left) and the Ferry Street Bridge (on the right, the old one, not the current 1914 iteration) leading to the docks on the Niagara River side of Squaw Island.

Rail traffic over the international Bridge was probably over 200 trains a day at the time this photo was taken, peaking at 264 in 1916.

Three legged dredger

The three legs are driven down into the river bottom. It can raise itself up and level using the three legs. Also helps stabilize its position. I have seen modern versions of this kind of dredger but didn't know the concept has been around so long. Another great Shorpy history lesson.

Also kudos to either Detroit Publishing or Shorpy for the excellent job of stitching these negatives together.

I don't see any buffalo

in the dredge scoop yet.

I'm impressed

I can tell from the amount of smoke and the number of smokestacks that you are a modern, prosperous city, Buffalo!

SHORPY OLD 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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