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On the Waterfront: 1905

On the Waterfront: 1905

Baltimore, Maryland, circa 1905. "Payday for the stevedores." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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I will say that the guy sweeping the bricks (just to the right of the horse, behind the fella sitting down) by the waterline is doing a fine job.

Nice to see a spark of life in a few of those smiles.

A few years later than this picture my grandfather would leave the house early every day with a chunk of yesterday's bread and walk 3 miles to the local docks in my home town. Mostly he was picked for work, but regularly he spent the whole day loafing around because he wasn't chosen.

As a youngster, when I asked why he didn't just go back home he said that he didn't like to be under my grandma's feet all day, especially considering he would be bringing home no money.

Banana Boat on Bowly's Wharf

The steamship Bodø was variously described in period newspaper accounts as a United Fruit Company freighter and a Norwegian fruit freighter, but the flag on her funnel indicates that she was registered as an Italian merchant ship. In 1903 the Bodø was one of several ships transporting bananas from Jamaica and Cuba for the Di Giorgio Importing & Steamship Company of Baltimore, docking at Bowly's Wharf. A portion of the cargo would be unloaded by stevedores on the dockside and sold directly to local wholesalers, while the larger portion was unloaded into Baltimore & Ohio Railroad boxcars on floats on the water side. In June, 1903, the railroad failed more than once to supply the needed transport in a timely fashion. Cargos were spoiled, and the importer sued the B&O. The transcript of that lawsuit provided the details above. On March 20, 1906, the SS Bodø ran aground on the beach at Fire Island, New York, after clearing a sandbar in heavy seas, and could not be freed.

Ripe for unrest

Presumably they didn't get paid in bananas.

There's a clown in every crowd.

The kid holding the "cell phone" and smoking a banana seems to be having a pretty good time.

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