VIDEO: Onlookers believe Niagara Falls scow has snapped into pieces


Published April 4, 2022 at 1:33 pm

Has the iron scow just 700 metres from the brink of Niagara Falls snapped into three pieces, still attached under the waterline? On April 1st, countless onlookers believe so (and it was no joke.)

The Niagara River Scow (aka the Old Scow, the Iron Scow) gave local residents a bit of an April 1st surprise… and it was no joke.

Countless posts on the “Niagara History and Trivia” Facebook page alerted people that something was going on with the scow, believing it had finally snapped into either two or three smaller pieces (though still attached under the waterline.)

“Looks it broke in two,” said one poster.

“Personally, now that it’s broke in three pieces, I feel each of these pieces have a larger chance now to become lodged in another location for many years to come if they don’t go over soon,” said another.

Added a third, “Had to pay a morning visit to the old Niagara scow this morning after rumours of her demise. The ol’ gal has definitely taken a hit, but still clingin’ to the rocks. Tried to get a few different perspectives to document her current state. One day, she’s going to quietly slip away, but not yet.”

Dozens of pictures were posted on April 1 and 2, some clearer than others, but for families that have literally been watching the old scow for generations now, this much seems clear – some of the scow had shifted and that it no longer looked intact.

The theories seem to centre on the idea around a chunk of an ice boom breaking loose and striking the old scow with some force.

For the history buffs in the crowd, back on August 6, 1918, the Great Lakes Dredge and Docks Company scow (a wide flat-bottomed boat used to transport materials up and down rivers) snapped free of the tugboat that was pulling when boat struck a sandbar.

In this particular instance, the scow was low in the water, weighted down with the sand and silt it was transported.

With two men aboard – Gustave F. Lofberg and Frank Harris – it frighteningly started to drift towards Niagara Falls  before it finally struck a rock shoal 760 metres away.

Countless attempts at saving the pair continued over the next 17 hours until finally the US Coast Guard arrived, they managed to send a lifeline over to the barge so both marooned men could make it safely back to shore.

However, the scow has remained since that time and has become something of a tourist and residents’ curiosity, stuck as it has been so close to the edge of the falls.

In 2018, the Parks Commission celebrated the 100th anniversary of the rescue and installed a new plaque and panels depicting the event. On the plaque, William “Red” Hill Sr is singled out for his efforts.

At this point, the question remains. If a chunk of ice has further damaged the scow, will it soon get pushed over the falls? Or will it be another 105 years before that happens.

Here’s a look at the history of the Niagara Scow.

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