The Old Scow
Anyone taking in the sights of Niagara Falls can’t help but notice an old rusted piece of metal, lodged in the river just above the falls. This steel barge, most often referred to as “the old scow” has been sitting precariously in the river since August 6th 1918.
The barge, loaded with rock was being pulled by a Hydro tug to the upper river when it’s tow line snapped and it was set adrift in the Niagara River. Two men on board, Gustave Lofberg and James Harris had the foresight to open the dumping hatches and the scow was grounded 767 m (838 yds) from the edge of the falls.
Efforts to rescue the stranded men began immediately. Several attempts were made to send a buoy to the barge, but every time the lines became twisted and failed to reach the scow. It was Red Hill Sr., a famous Niagara river man who voluntarily made the trek through the raging waters using a guide line and swinging from it hand over hand until he reached the barge. It was only then that the men were rescued.
Today the barge can still be seen above the falls. Rumour has it that Mr. Harris’s hair turned from brown to white overnight. Over the years the old scow has added to the folklore that surrounds Niagara Falls.
The old scow, a curiosity to tourists, still sits atop the falls, almost 100 years after it was lodged there.