Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Car Ferry postcards: A Lifeline To The Other Side

Ohio River Car Ferry Boat Fly OH Sistersville WV 1965c postcard

Car ferries - and before them wagon ferries - were a common sight in the development of the United States. Where the road was punctuated by a river, lake, or the sea, often the quickest and cheapest way to continue the journey was to float one's way across. Broad, flat bottomed craft, the ferries were built for load over a short and shallow journey; grace and style were left for the paddle steamers and ocean liners. Money for bridges would come later as the economy grew and eventually result in the disappearance of the car ferry.

 Shelter Island Car Ferry Boat Greenport Long Island New York postcard

These postcards provide a sample of car ferries still operating in the 1950s and 1960s.  

The Ohio River ferry boat between Fly, Ohio and Sistersville, West Virginia, nears Fly, OH on one of its many trips across the river. The caption on the card notes that the ferry was still operating in 1965, the year of publication, despite may other ferries having given way to modern bridges.

The "Islander" approaches its slip in Greenport, Long Island, New York, completing a routine trip from Shelter Island off Long Island, loaded with cars and a truck and their passengers.

The ferry operating across Lake Champlain between Grand Isle Vermont and Plattsburg New York was operated by the Lake Champlain Transportation Co.. Built in 1953, the card's caption reports it was 138 feet long, 37 feet wide and powered by two 425 horsepower diesel engines delivering a speed of 11 knots. A fine vessel like this could carry up to 26 cars. On the day of this photo, it looks like it was a light day with six cars and a bus!

Grand Isle Car Ferry Boat Lake Champlain Burlington Vermont 1950s postcard

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Steamers South & North American at Docks Holland Michigan postcard

The steamers South American and North American at Holland Michigan circa 1940s.

The South American was built in 1914 for the Chicago, Duluth & Georgian BayTransit Co. of Detroit.  It was in service for over 50 years before being sold for use as a floating dormitory,  and eventually scrapped in 1992. 

Built in 1913 for the same company, The North American had a history of running aground through its history, finally doing so in 1967 and sinking in 200 ft of water.