It’s Wayback Wednesday, sponsored by Pharmasave Huntsville!
This postcard depicts the Huntsville wharf, date unknown. The steamer is most likely the Algonquin though we can’t read her name.
In 1903, a new government wharf was constructed on the river behind the Main Street businesses. Previously, steamers had to moor to a smaller private wharf when they needed to stop here to unload or take on cargo or passengers.
The wharf was built with a $3,500 grant from the federal government. According to Susan Pryke in Huntsville: With Spirit and Resolve, “Getting the property owners along the waterfront to accept the wharf’s location took some diplomacy on the part of Huntsville’s Board of Trade. In the end, everyone agreed that the wharf should run from the lane beside Hanna and Hutcheson Bros. store [where Algonquin Outfitters is today]to Queen Street. The federal government laid the timbers in February 1903 and the wharf was in use the following summer. Within a few years, however, the townspeople realized they needed more wharf space to accommodate steamboat travel and summer commerce. To extend the wharf, the town purchased the water lots behind Hanna and Hutcheson Bros. store for $300. Hart Proudfoot, the contractor, began building the 100-foot wharf extension in July 1910. The job was completed in the fall of 1911.”
The Algonquin launched in December 1905 at South Portage, but the following year was moved to Peninsula Lake. Pryke writes, “So, in the spring of 1906, the Portage became the scene of major engineering feats as Jim Robson of Birkendale used a system of rollers and pulleys to winch the Joe and the Florence Main [the steamers that would replace the Algonquin on Lake of Bays]across the narrow Portage road. Warren Moore was in charge of moving the Algonquin. When the Algonquin was approaching the shore of Peninsula Lake, however, one of the rollers under it dropped and the keel snapped. A boat with a broken keel is usually considered a lost cause, but the Algonquin managed to overcome this disability with the help of reinforcing timbers.”
The Algonquin was 120 feet long and weighed 200.4 tons (slightly larger than the Segwun) and could carry 300 passengers.
The Algonquin was the first ship to have an accident while passing through Huntsville’s swing bridge in July 1914. The corner of the bride caught the ship’s railing, stripping off part of the railing and deck posts and driving the boat off course. She ran aground on the rocks on the west side below the bridge. Another ship, the Phoenix, had to be used to free her.
The Algonquin was rebuilt with a steel keel and frame in 1927, and continued to ply the waters until she was retired in 1952.
See more Wayback Wednesday photos here.
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