Have you heard the one about a train, a schooner, and a drawbridge?

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Train Disaster 1904
Locomotive poised above the Laurel River after crashing through a drawbridge and plunged into the river, 1904, Laurel, Delaware. Photograph by Albert H. Waller.

What’s going on here? Its definitely not your typical maritime photograph.

It’s a curious story. I came across the photograph quite by accident. It was filed under Golden Gate. On the morning of June 20, 1904, the schooner Golden Gate just happened to be passing under the drawbridge at Laurel, Delaware, when this locomotive broke through and plunged 50 feet into the Laurel River.   Read more

Tell Me About It: Colonial Line Pier

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Colonial Lines Pier, New York City
Close view of the Colonial Lines Pier in New York, c.1930

This 1930s photograph grabbed my attention with its jam-packed composition and crisp morning light. Taken from the water, it is a spectacular view of the Colonial Line pier with New York City in the background.

Tell me about it: Is that a bell tower in the foreground part of the pier? What would it have been used for? I would love to hear your thoughts in the Comments area below!   Read more

Rabbit Hole Leads Me to Moon

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Norfolk Marine Railway Co., Acme Photo Company, Inc., Nov. 1934 (MS0598-PS485).

Recently I came across a scrapbook created for and donated to The Mariners’ Museum in 1935 by George W. Roper titled Shipyards and Ship Repair Yards of the Port of Norfolk and Hampton Roads. Roper wrote “a short account of each yard or plant of which I have been able to obtain any reliable record, beginning with the earliest.”1

The typewritten account is eight pages long, and is followed by 25-27 photographs of area shipyards, including Moon Shipyard and Repair Company. I thought, Moon – what a cool name! Curiosity over the name led me down the rabbit hole that is this blog. That, and the striking clarity and composition of the photographs, taken by Acme Photo of Norfolk (ca. 1930s), compelled me to seek out and share their history.   Read more

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

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Our Future Lies Upon the Water by Arthur Fitger ca 1901

I was going to come up with some witty lyrics; I swear I was, but it was too tough!

I’m fortunate. Sometimes it takes a pandemic to remind yourself of all the things for which you are grateful. For one, I am thankful that I get to photograph a collection as broad and as deep as that of The Mariners’ Museum. I miss my studio terribly, and I cannot wait to get back to taking photos of some spectacular artifacts. In the meantime, I’ve been taking a look back through some of my favorite images. I love some of these photos because of the object itself. Others I love because they represent breakthroughs in my photographic process. Some I love just because I think they look cool! Here are my ten favorite artifact photos from the last four and a half years.   Read more

A Glimpse of Early 20th-Century Life at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company

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The man himself, January 28, 1905. Charles Bailey was also administrative vice president for the project of building the Mariners’ Museum and creating the Park.

Charles Franklin Bailey (1863-1934), a native of Vermont, came to Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in 1891 as chief draftsman. Appointed chief engineer in 1900, Bailey was later named engineering director and a member of the yard’s board of directors in 1918. From its beginning, Bailey was active in the founding and success of The Apprentice School. After he retired from the shipyard in 1934, the Charles F. Bailey Award was created in his honor, recognizing the graduate with the highest scholastic average.

Bailey enjoyed photography and he created three small albums of photographs that he took between 1903 and 1905. In addition to documenting ships under construction or in for repair, there are views of the shipyard, buildings in Newport News and residences in Norfolk.   Read more