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Allouez: 1941

August 1941. "Iron ore docks at Allouez, Wisconsin." Medium format acetate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

August 1941. "Iron ore docks at Allouez, Wisconsin." Medium format acetate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Last port of call for a doomed freighter

This is the very dock where the Edmund Fitzgerald loaded on that fateful Nov. 9, 1975.,3885535

Hitler's miscalculations

According to histories I've read, Hitler was advised not to declare war on the U.S. after Pearl Harbor but overrode the advice for the following reasons:

1. Although Germany's mutual-defense treaty with Japan didn't obligate Germany to declare war on the U.S. after Japan became the aggressor by starting the war, Hitler said that staying neutral would make Germany look weak. He didn't want to dodge the war on a treaty technicality.

2. Great Britain was already receiving U.S. assistance through the Lend-Lease program, so declaring war on the U.S. wouldn't materially alter the balance.

3. Hitler doubted that U.S. industrial production would rise significantly if the U.S. entered the war.

4. Even if production did rise, Hitler believed his U-boat blockade would prevent the U.S. from shipping large amounts of supplies and troops across the Atlantic Ocean.

5. Even if we did move an army across the Atlantic, Americans were an inferior "mongrel race" and no match for German soldiers.

Videos Show How The Ore Docks Work

YouTube has a number of videos showing how this sort of ore dock works. Most focus on the railroad aspect, but this one is more focused on the unloading, and has some good close-ups of how it works:

Getting the ore from the cars.

The ore cars have sloped bottoms like a funnel. A gateway at the bottom of the car is opened and the ore flows between the tracks to the ship. No tipping required.

We're Not in Green Bay Anymore

I grew up in Allouez, WI and Archfan has it right, this is not in the Green Bay area (where I still live). We had the Fox River, ships, railroads, paper industries and smoldering coal piles, but not iron ore. Today we have the same industries including a small meat packing industry which gave birth to a certain Football Team we are very proud of.

If you are a fan of U.S. history, the Green Bay area has a very rich history dating back to 1634.

The other Allouez

It looks like the LOC description is incomplete. These are the Allouez Bay Ore Docks in Superior. The dock was also owned by the Great Northern RR. They're still standing but they ceased operations over thirty years ago.

Head Explosion

Holy Shorpy! There are so many things going on in this photo, each one regularly getting a complete photo to itself, but here we have, as supporting actors: Loco 831 with full tender AND engineer leaning out of window; a Great Lakes freighter with legible text (Powell Stackhouse, Bethlehem Transportation Corporation); railcars with iron ore as far as the eye can see; a tugboat with an angry stack; a brilliant metal dock built over 80 years ago in America; and that whole wire system strung over the railcars. Each one of these could be 20 comments, easy. Look at them all, together here! And, please, check on the map for Allouez, WI: it’s actually on Fox River, leading to Green Bay, on Lake Michigan. [Actually not: corrected by archfan to Superior, WI.] I’m loving this John Vachon trip.

Untouched by human hands

Interesting. I assume they raise the hatches, lower the chutes and tip the ore cars? Efficient, if that's how they do it.

They Knew They Were Sunk

Following Pearl Harbor, Admiral Yamamoto, architect of the attack, opined that Japan would achieve victories against the U.S. for six months before beginning to lose the war. Albert Speer, German Minister of Production, concluded at the same time (according to his memoir) that the Third Reich was doomed in light of American production -- an opinion that he prudently saw fit to keep to himself.

What Were They Thinking?

I am always amazed at the amount of commerce and industry in the Shorpy photos shown before the U.S. entered WWII. But what really amazes me is who did Germany and Japan think they were taking on when they declared war on the U.S.?

Rustless Scupper

The Powell Stackhouse looks brand new.

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