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The Iron Scow

The Iron Scow – A Piece of Niagara Falls History

On August 6, 1918, a dumping scow broke loose from its towing tug about 1.6 km upriver with two men aboard. A unique artifact of Niagara Falls history, the wreckage remains lodged in the upper Niagara River, over 100 years later.

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William “Red” Hill Sr.

William “Red” Hill Sr.

The brave efforts of William “Red” Hill Sr., a resident of Niagara Falls, Ontario and well-known riverman, led the legendary iron scow rescue. Hill courageously swung himself out to the wreckage in the upper Niagara River clinging from a tangled breeches buoy by his legs while straightening the lines for the stranded passengers to disembark. Prior to this heroic deed, Hill served in the First World War and had recently returned home after having been wounded and gassed in France. Hill was awarded a Carnegie Life Saving Medal for his part in the harrowing iron scow rescue.

Centenary of the Iron Scow Rescue

Centenary of the Iron Scow Rescue

The 100th anniversary of the iron scow rescue, perhaps the most iconic story in Niagara folklore, was celebrated on August 6, 2018. A ceremony unveiled a new set of interpretive panels that share the fascinating history of the iron scow so visitors can learn about the dramatic rescue effort long after the barge finally descends over the Horseshoe Falls or crumbles into the river forever.

Going Over? Severe Weather Moves the Scow 101 Years Later

Severe weather conditions on October 31, 2019 caused the scow to shift significantly from the spot it remained in for over 100 years. Remarkably, high winds forced the scow to turn its position and shift further toward the brink of the falls. The news of the scow’s momentous move made national and international headlines with media and public interest continuing days after. While still lodged in the powerful rapids of the upper Niagara River, the future of the legendary scow remains uncertain.

Following the scow’s sudden shift, Niagara Parks is using geographic information system (GIS) mapping to evaluate exactly how much it moved from its previous location and monitor any further movement.

THE HISTORY OF THE IRON SCOW RESCUE

On August 6, 1918, a dumping scow broke loose from its towing tug about 1.6 km up river with two men aboard. This unique artifact of Niagara Falls history still remains today, over 100 years later.

Revisit the past

Toronto Power Park, Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls, ON, Canada

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