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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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Ferry Superior: 1905

Ferry Superior: 1905

1905. "Waterfront -- Norfolk, Virginia." A going-away view of the ferry Superior. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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You can see the Atlantic Hotel on the left, the unfinished Confederate Monument (No Johnny Reb on top) in the middle.

What is that white building about 2 inches to the right of the Atlantic?

What a magnificent city!

Some of the churches are still there.

This looks to be taken in Porstmouth, looking across the Elizabeth River to Norfolk. In that case, some of the churches shown are obvious, such as Epworth United Methodist Church towards the left of the picture, and the Basillica of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception, towards the right. Lower down, just a bit to the left of St. Mary's, you can see historic St. Paul's Episcopal Church, known as "the church with a cannonball stuck in the wall" from the War of 1812; it would be the oldest building in the picture.

Most of the buildings are gone, but curiously, you can see Maury High School about a third of the way from the left, still in use, but almost a mile and a half off. I suppose that's because Maury is on one of the higher elevations in this part of Norfolk. Missing in what you would see from this point today is, towards the right, Harbor Park, towards the center right Waterside, and towards the left of center, Nauticus and the battleship USS Wisconsin.


We're tidal here in Hampton Roads, but not THAT tidal. The actual tide line is the chalky white on the slips. The line is also evident (this time as darkened wood) on the pilings supporting the chain hoist beam post.


1905, not too many vehicles around, Ferry is empty but why the seemingly huge access for ... horse carriages?

[See below. - Dave]

A busy port

An amazing pic in that it shows 4 ferries on a short crossing. Not many cars in those days so mostly shuttling walk-on passengers

"City of Portsmouth" has walking beam side wheel propulsion. "Superior" must be some other system of powering the side-wheels

No navaids of any kind, just lights. Navigation was probably mostly by range lights on the piers to guide docking

Tide or splash?

One of those brilliant Shorpy photos that rewards extended viewing. Much as I'd love to gaze at the multi-spired cityscape across the river, I can't help staring in awe at the arcing embrace of the ferry slips, the planks of wood in long curves, attached to the log piles. But as a prairie-born lad, I must ask: is the high-water mark from tide or ferry splash?

[That's from a paintbrush and some sort of preservative. - Dave]

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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