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Industrial Strength: 1901

Lake Erie circa 1901. "Ore docks and harbor -- Cleveland, O." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Photographic Company. View full size.

Lake Erie circa 1901. "Ore docks and harbor -- Cleveland, O." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Photographic Company. View full size.


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Whiskey Island

Since nobody has commented yet on this wonderful scene, here is my attempt to get things started. There is much more unexplained than what I can surmise, especially those odd disconnected trestles.

The boat (not called a ship on the Great Lakes) is in the "old river bed", with Whiskey Island in the background. The twisty Cuyahoga River originally emptied into Lake Erie west of its current mouth, near where the Westerly Wastewater Treatment Plant is now. A new direct river entrance was cut east of this scene, unsure of when. The boat appears to be at the Cleveland Shipyard, either being completed or under repair under the sheerlegs. The boat's stern is sitting very high in the water, with work platforms around the rudder. There is a vertical boilered steam pile driver across the river, just left of the boat's mizzenmast, building a grid of pilings for some new construction. The round white object in the foreground looks like a ship's boiler, fat and stubby. None of these wooden buildings survive.

The shipyard's abandoned drydock is still visible on satellite, to the west of the Great Lakes Towing Company (G Tug) yard. The concrete framed drydock entrance is still there, visited it a few years ago.

Some time on the Bowling Green site might turn up the name of the boat, assuming it was being built at this time. The 'P' is probably Pittsburgh Steamship Company, but uncertain.

The Cargill salt mine now occupies the area where the more distant disconnected trestle stands. The nearest trestlework appears to be the shipbuilding ways. Those crossed timbers would be light duty cranes for hoisting pieces of plating and small fittings. The disconnected trestle with the 4 hopper cars is a puzzle, unless there was an elevator to hoist the cars from ground level, not uncommon with lighter cars of the era, or it might be a curved ramp from the background. Seems like a long lens was used, the perspective is confusing.

The embankment in the background is the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern, later New York Central, Penn Central, Conrail, now Norfolk Southern, climbing westward from the old lakefront depot. Beyond the railroad is where the Lakefront Ore Docks are now. The breakwall is apparently being built or expanded, a pretty constant process to this day.

Now I hope somebody comments on the equally wonderful "Along the Ohio: 1940".

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