Historic iron scow moves for first time in 101 years, closer to Niagara Falls ledge

The remains of an iron scow lodged in the Niagara River since August 1918 have moved for the first time in more than 100 years after strong winds and heavy rain battered the Canadian falls.

Niagara Parks officials announced Friday that the historic site, which lies just 656 yards from the brink of the Horseshoe Falls, was dislodged Thursday because of a storm.

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Senior Manager of Heritage Jim Hill said in a news release that the dumping barge “appears to have flipped on its side and spun around,” adding that it appeared to have shifted about 164 feet downriver from its initial resting place.

“What we think has happened now is it's turned and twisted in the very heavy current flow of the river and is stuck where it is now and it could be stuck there for days or it could be stuck there for years. It’s anyone’s guess.”

The scow, now heavily deteriorated, represents one of the most dramatic rescues in the Niagara River’s history.

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On August 6, 1918, the scow broke loose from its tug during a dredging operation. According to the Niagara Parks website, it drifted into the midstream and headed directly towards the falls. The two crewmen trapped aboard acted quickly and opened the dumping doors which slowed the vessel down.

It eventually became trapped on a bed of rocks where it remained until this week.

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Hill said Friday that while the scow appears to be in place for now, he doesn’t know if that’s where it will remain.

“Will it stay in place? Well it’s been stuck there for 101 years.”

Ontario was hit with a strong storm on Thursday that saw wind gusts of up to 58 mph and initially left more than 98,000 Hydro One customers without power.