Niagara Scow (Old Scow) - Tripshepherd<!-- -->

Old Scow

4.8(14)
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https://res.cloudinary.com/see-sight-tours/image/upload/v1594649167/old-scow-niagara.png
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Overview

The remaining wreckage of the scow sitting close to the top of the Horseshoe Falls stems back to 1918. Sometime between late October 31st and the morning of November 1st, 2019 the Scow flipped over onto its side and moved about 50m due to high winds in the Niagara River. This was the first time the Old Scow had moved in over 100 years! One of our tour guides spotted the scow on its side during a morning tour on November 1st and was able to capture some footage which caught the attention of ABC News producers of Good Morning America.

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August 6th, 1918 marks the day of a shipwreck that is straight out of myths and folklore — except it's real. A garbage scow broke loose from its towing tug and was set adrift in the upper Niagara River with two men stuck on board until it became rooted there. The men, Gustave F. Lofberg and James H. Harris, were rescued but the scow remained there, quickly becoming a tourist spot. Today it's known by three names — Old Scow, Niagara Scow, and Iron Scow. 

Sometime between late October 31st and the morning of November 1st, 2019 the Old Scow flipped over onto its side and moved about 50m due to high winds in the Niagara River. This was the first time the Old Scow had moved in over 100 years, and made both national and international headlines! 

One of our tour guides spotted the scow on its side during a morning tour on November 1st and was able to capture some footage that caught the attention of ABC News producers of Good Morning America! The best way to see this historic wreck is through a narrated tour which includes several other points of interest as well. So what are you waiting for? Book a tour now!

Hop On A Narrated Tour Of Niagara Falls!


What to Know 

The Niagara Scow is a historic vessel whose wreck is famous to this day. The scow, which was used for dredging and dumping purposes, became stranded on a sandbar in the middle of the river, close to the brink of the Falls in 1918. The two men on board, Gustav F. Lofberg and James H. Harris, were in danger of being swept over the Falls. A rescue mission was launched, and after several attempts, they were rescued with the help of a breeches buoy!

How to Get There 

The historic Iron Scow is marooned in the Upper Rapids of Niagara Falls, Ontario. There is an Old Scow Lookout Point nestled in Niagara Parkway, so you can go there either on foot or by driving! The best way to get there is on a guided tour that will drive you to the many points of interest on the Parkway!

Best Time to Visit 

As the Niagara Scow is open year-round for the public to see, you can stop by anytime. It's recommended that you visit on a sunny day when the weather is clear since it's a bit tricky to spot the scow. The Niagara region of the Canadian side presents a better view of this historical attraction!

Highlights 

The tale of the Iron Scow Rescue is one that you'll always remember! So when you visit this historic attraction, do so on a narrated tour so you can learn about its history which is the highlight of this marooned scow.

Features 

Come down to Niagara Falls to listen to a tale that has become an integral part of Niagara folklore. The tale of Iron Scow Rescue is one that you will never forget. When two men — Gustav Lofberg and James Harris — found themselves stuck on an Iron Scow which was adrift towards the Falls, they freed the false bottom, lodging the boat on a rock shoal. How they were rescued from the verge of the Falls is a legendary story that will restore your faith in humanity! 

You'll find an Old Scow Lookout Point on the Niagara Parkway, where you can see the haunting view of the wreck. Moreover, you'll find interpretive panels that will illustrate the history of how the wreck ensued! Niagara Scow is a must-visit for those who are into stories of shipwrecks and desolation!

History

On the historic day of August 6, 1918, two men by the names of Gustav Lofberg and James Harris (who worked at Niagara Falls Power Company) were on board an iron scow of Great Lakes Dredge and Docks Company, removing debris and shoal from the Niagara River. When a tug boat was carried over to the barge to bring it towards the shore, it broke free and was adrift towards the Horseshoe Falls. Even in this turbulence, Lofberg and Harris didn't lose their cool and rationally thought about alleviating this issue. 

At last, they opened the bottom dumping doors which miraculously lodged the scow in the shallow rapids on a rocky ledge about 600 meters from the verge of the Falls. The barge is still stuck there to this day. But the men themselves needed rescuing since they were in danger of being swept away in the treacherous waters. After about 29 hours, help came their way in the form of a breeches buoy joined to a line shot out from the flat roof of the Toronto Power Generating Station nestled along the Niagara River.

Especially valiant were the efforts of William Red Hill Sr — a World War I veteran who took it upon himself to release the tangled breeches buoy line until the men were rescued eventually through the synergetic endeavor by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Niagara Parks police, and the Niagara Falls fire and police departments. On August 6, 2018, people all over Niagara celebrated the 100th anniversary of this historic rescue. 

To enrich the Niagara folklore with this story so that it endures forever, a set of graphic displays and interpretive panels were launched that illustrate the iconic story of the Iron Scow Rescue. Even after the Old Scow crumbles and drops over the brink of the Horseshoe Falls, people will always remember this tale which is as tumultuous as the waves it was set in. 

After the 1918 event, the scow remained more or less untouched until its 2019 shift which was so historic that it made both international and national headlines! On November 1st, the barge toppled to its side and shifted about 50m given the harsh weather it was constantly subjected to. A 2022 breakup report tells us that the barge's body has been falling apart and disintegrating due to unpredictable storms, strong water currents, and old age. 

According to a Niagara Parks representative, the Iron Scow might be "reaching the end of its life". It is predicted that it will capsize and wash away in the Horseshoe Falls soon. The tale of the Iron Scow however will live on forever. Whenever a similar kind of shipwreck occurs, like in the case of Subchaser Sunbeam, people always recall the story of Niagara Scow Rescue. 

Subchaser was a wooden barge that previously served as a WWI anti-submarine patrol boat. After its owner got the boat back, it got stuck in the shoals a short distance upstream from the Falls due to a navigation error. The scow remained lodged till in the 1930s, it completely disintegrated — a fate that is also inevitable for the Iron Scow.