Monday, January 23, 2017

More Ore Bridge Lore… and More – Part 1

As Dennis explained, the ore bridges traveled around the semi-circle
formed by the dock line on rails that were about 600 feet apart.
(Postcard Courtesy Dennis Lamont)
Archivist and historian Dennis Lamont normally emails me with information and insights about the Lake Shore Electric Railway, his specific area of expertise and interest. But as a former employee of U.S. Steel in Lorain, he possesses much knowledge of the history of the mill and its operations as well.

My post on Friday about the demolition of the last ore bridge at U. S. Steel triggered some thoughts and reminisces that Dennis was happy to share with me.

Writing about the 1924 Lorain Tornado damaging one of the ore bridges, Dennis noted that the funnel "had such strong winds with it that it caused one of the bridges to lose control of its brakes. The operator was swept along as the bridge picked up speed, and he finally decided to bail out. 

It was pitch black and roaring and raining sideways.  He fell about four feet to the top of the pile. By luck (or foresight) he had positioned the cab there and rolled to the bottom. The bridge proceeded down the track to the end, hit the bumpers and tipped over.

As for his source for this story, Dennis stated, "The tornado story we got from official plant correspondence during the Centennial Museum setup. The plant sent a telegram of the plant condition to headquarters the next day, and it was the only major damage listed. Everything else was up and running.”

"One other thing on the ore bridges,” he pointed out. "I don't know when they installed them, but they had wind indicators on them. When the wind got to a certain speed, they had to take them to the end of the runway and mechanically lock them down to the rails."

Dennis had a funny story to share about the ore bridges.

"I got to ride one once out to the end over the river while it was working. The end was bouncing up and down as the bridge trolley went in and out. My fingerprints were probably still embedded in the handrails the day she came down!”

Next: Huletts

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