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Jack-Knife Bridge: 1905

Buffalo, New York, circa 1905. "Jack-Knife Bridge, City Ship Canal, foot of Michigan Street." Detroit Publishing Company glass negative. View full size.

Buffalo, New York, circa 1905. "Jack-Knife Bridge, City Ship Canal, foot of Michigan Street." Detroit Publishing Company glass negative. View full size.


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Connelly Bros. Ship Chandlers

The business in the lower left, Connelly Bros., was a ship chandlery which served the equipment, etc. needs of Great Lakes freighters coming and going from the port of Buffalo. It was founded by my great-grandfather John Connelly. He was born in Ireland in 1853 and emigrated to the US. He and his brothers got started as young men buying and selling (used, I think) rope around the mouth of the Erie Canal and the Buffalo harbor. I believe that between the chandlery and the bride was the dock of the fire boat. The Connelly Bros. building in the picture was destroyed in the late fifties when a freighter that was tied up for the winter up stream came loose and collided with the bridge. The bridge tower came down into the business and all was destroyed by the collision and possibly a resulting fire. I'm not sure if it was the same bridge or a later version. I think the fire boat in service now(the Edward Cotter?) is still tied up there. The business was moved to 43 Illinois St. which is right across from the parking structure at the HSBC Arena (now known as First Niagara). Due to the opening of the Welland canal and the decline of steel and manufacturing in Buffalo, ship traffic became greatly reduced in the 1960s-80s. My father, John Connelly Norwalk, was forced to close the business down in the mid 1980s after operating for over 3 generations within our family. Almost every member of my dad's family my age and older had a hand in working there at some point. If you look closely you can see people, possibly my relatives, out in front of the building along the docks. Thank you for this. It will make a fantastic family keepsake.

Smoke all over

In days past a photo with smoke in the air denoted prosperity and industry going full steam ahead towards the future. The smokier the more prosperous an area was.

Scuffy the Tugboat.

A colorization candidate! These squat tugs are likely "low-profile" Great Lakes Towing and Salvage boats and were painted dark green on the hull with red deckhouse and white trim, often named for a U. S. state. Note the trident steam whistle. It must have produced a beautiful a sound. They were very powerful tugs for their size and some were steered with a whip-staff rather than a large wooden wheel. Also note the Erie Canal style barge tied up at the foot of the Kellogg warehouse.

First built in 1873, apparently

There's a lot of interesting history about the Buffalo grain industry here. And I should really get back to work.

Toot, toot!

What a great photo! You can almost smell the smoke and hear the tugboat's horn!

Smoke all over

I just wonder what it has been to live in a city that time while smoke was in one's nose all the time. Many of these old city photos seem to reveal an air pollution problem. But I would still be happy to make a visit back to those times!

Long gone

The bridge in the picture here is no longer in existence. The bridge shown in the picture from the comment entitled "Wonderful Mechanical Art" is the Michigan Street Bridge that crosses the Buffalo River, not the Buffalo Ship canal.


I love the way the photo captures the steam/smoke from the tug under the bridge. The steam/smoke is enveloping the left edge of the bridge. Very cool.


Great to see more pictures of Buffalo in its prime.

And Lo

Steampunks and boatnerds across the land rejoiced.

Kellogg Buildings

Sorry Breakfast Clubbers, the Kellogg A and B Buildings didn't store or manufacture Corn Flakes or Rice Krispies. Spencer Kellogg & Sons compounded oils (cooking, vegetable and castor among others) from linseed.

Wonderful mechanical art

What a great photograph, I just got lost in it. And that bridge! The lifting design is amazing. Look at those rolling counterweights, articulated steam-powered lifting arms, and the beautifully engineered iron-work that contains it all. I love it!

From Google Earth photo: this the bridge at the end of Michigan Street now.

Lil Toot

This must be the tug Disney based his classic cartoon on.

I wish I was the captain

Of that steam tugboat. What a beautiful time trip I would make. Thanks again for this fantastic photo.

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