Old Scow



Just above the Falls and opposite the greenhouse, the old scow has been marooned in the upper rapids since August 6, 1918.

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The Steel barge, loaded with rock and manned by three workers was being towed up river by a hydro tug when it's tow line broke and it was set adrift.

The men abord were quick witted enough to open the dumping hatches in the barge and the scow was grounded 767 meters (838 yards) from the brink of the Falls.

All efforts failed at rescue all night and late into next day. A breeches-boyd rigged from a powerhouse onshore to the craft became tangled and couldn't reach the barge.

Famous Niagara dare-devil William 'Red' Smith Sr. volunteered to swing hand over hand out to free the entanglement and the breeched-buoy reached the scow and the men were rescued.

Folklore has it that a least one of the the survivors has his hair turn white. As a child, that made a big impression on me.

Today the steel barge and its legend is now an island and favorite perch for gulls.

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