The Levy And The Train Ferry

Not the best quality photo, but this never before published picture shows the Union Building's foundation under way on the right, circa 1910.  You also see the buildings that once lined old Kanawha Street and the County Courthouse steeple in the background.  But notice the barge on the river:  That barge is carrying train cars. Why it's setting at the levy I'm not sure, because the train ferry crossed the river near Elizabeth Street.

Let's take a closer look.....


This is the old ferry boat that conveyed freight cars between the Chesapeake and Ohio railway on the south side of the Kanawha river and the Kanawha and Michigan (later the New York Central) on the north side. This picture was taken a century ago, long before there was a railroad bridge near Florida Street. The tracks extended down the river bank at Elizabeth street when that section of the city was partly farming land and partly a marsh. The tracks extended diagonally westward to connect with the old Kanawha and Michigan.   On the south side they ran across what Is now the South Ruffner residential section, then occupied  in part by thc Isaac brick yard. This was low lying land east of the city, and was considered a menace.  It was eventually filled-in.

Geologist claimed that the Kanawha river in prehistoric times ran next to the hills on the north side (Piedmont Road) and that a great flood caused it to change its course to the former location.  This is one of the reasons why so many ponds and streams appeared on the east side of town back in the day,  and when flooding occurred, the entire back part of town was often under water.   At one time, a stream ran right through Capitol Street from Ruffner Hollow (Greenbrier St) on it's way to the Elk River, and a walk bridge was erected across from where the library is today. People would stop on that little bridge to chat and young men would carve their initials in the handrail. 

These streams usually came back to the Kanawha River near the area of Shoneys on Kanawha Blvd.  That section of town was a huge marsh,  and was filled-in over time with everything from garbage to cars, and of course, soil.  It was said that "back in the day", in the winter time,  kids could ice skate on the streams that ran from near Greenbrier Street all the way to near Capitol Street without stopping.

See more Levy photos here...



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