Two men had to be rescued from the boat in August 1918, and it has remained there ever since

By Rachel DeSantis
November 04, 2019 11:02 AM

A scow that has sat above Niagara Falls for more than a century after being abandoned during a rescue mission has finally moved thanks to a Halloween storm.

The dumping scow — a type of flat-bottomed sailboat — was lodged above the Canadian Horseshoe Falls in August 1918, and has been there ever since, Niagara Parks Commission senior manager of heritage Jim Hill said in a Facebook video produced by the commission.

On Thursday night, however, it shifted for the first time, flipping on its side and spinning around.

“I think it’s about 50 meters downriver from its original location,” Hill said. “And what we think has happened now is it’s turned and twisted in the very heavy current and flow of the river and stuck where it is now.”

Hill said the scow could be stuck in its new location anywhere from days to years, adding, “It’s anyone’s guess.”

Niagara Falls scow
Wikimedia

The scow broke loose from its tug with two men aboard on Aug. 6, 1918, and began drifting toward the treacherous falls, according to Niagara Parks.

To stop it from continuing on, the men opened its bottom dumping doors, flooding its compartments with water and slowing its progress until eventually it became stuck on some rocks.

The men were successfully rescued the next day “by breeches buoy on a line shot out from the roof of the adjacent power house,” though an operation to salvage the scow was not considered feasible, so it was left as is, according to Niagara Parks.

In the 101 years since, it has deteriorated considerably, though it always remained in the same place until Thursday.

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