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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.


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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 could 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!

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