& Ward Engineering Works
this may not be the most beautiful scene in Charleston, had
lived here about 75 years ago you would have seen something
different in this same location: An industrial factory that
very famous in it's day.
This is the same location as the first photo
Charles Ward Engineering Company was a fixture on the South Side for
many years. They were an iron and steel
fabricator and shipyard founded by Charles Ward in 1872. They produced
shallow draught boats at a plant on the south bank of the Kanawha
River. It remained in operation until 1931 headed by the founder’s son
Charles E. Ward.
Ward designed and built many steam and
diesel powered vessels, both paddlewheel and propeller driven.
Customers include the Army, Navy and Coast Guard.
Ward manufactured water-tube boilers in
many sizes. The firm also pioneered the development of the tunnel stern
propeller driven towboats and were among the first companies to install
diesel power in river towboats.
In the background, you can see the first South Side Bridge
the request of John P. Hale, Charles Ward (1841–1915) arrived in
Charleston from England in 1871 to become superintendent of the
Charleston Gas Works. By 1872, Ward had begun operating his own pipe
and fittings business. He developed his first boiler for Hale’s packet,
the Wild Goose. By 1880, Ward was working full-time at his own
business, located first on Capitol Street, and then on the south side
of the Kanawha River across from downtown. By the 1890s, Ward’s
patented water-tube boilers were found on both river packets and on
coastal defense vessels like the USS Monterey of the Spanish-American
Another new launch. Notice the guy on top
hanging on. He's also in the next photo below...
Launch of the "Indiana" Turbine Electric Towboat
Engineering produced a total of 89 hulls in a variety of designs
including sternwheel tows, such as the Greenbrier (1924) and the Scott
(1930) which later plied the Kanawha as the excursion boat P. A. Denny.
Charles Ward Engineering closed in 1932.
you can see in the photo above, Charleston was a very different place
75 years ago. The buildings overlooking the river on the
side were trashy. People tossed garbage off their back
and sewers ran directly into the river. Across the
on the South side, a huge industrial complex was
out smoke, noise, and looked as
trashy as the
other side. But remember, much of the riverfront
Charleston, both the Kanawha and Elk were taken-up by industry, which
was common at that time in almost every city in America. If
could be transported for one hour to this very spot 75 years ago,
you would appreciate much better what we have today.
"Wild Goose" locking through at Lock 6
Length overall: 100
ft., beam 21 ft. built 1926
The placement of this boat suggests that this has to
be a Charles Ward project
These two photos courtesy of John Summer who shot them at the Maine Maritime Academy Museum in Bath Maine
The home of Charles
Ward in South Hills