Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

industry 4

A ship at canal side?

This week’s Sepia Saturday gives us to wonder about what is happening in the whole photo, not just the couple in a piece of the image. I am reminded of the photographic battle between my Grammie and Grandpa Jim. Jim liked pictures of scenery, Grammie liked pictures of people. So, Jim would take a picture of say, the Grand Canyon, and down in the corner or off to the side would be a tiny little person.

Today I am featuring a few pictures in my collection that have me wondering, just what is going on here? Feel free to add your thoughts as well. The only one I’m really certain of is the ship above. It’s at the side of a canal. BUT what it’s doing there is the mystery. Was it taking on cargo? Delivering supplies? Refueling?

industry 9

Not exactly a thrill ride!

And this one, you would never EVER catch me on that cable car! I think this could be one of those rigs set up to start building a bridge over a river. Or, it could BE the bridge over the river.

UPDATE: Thanks to site reader Mike Brubaker, I got to looking at vintage photos of the Spanish Aero Car ride which traverses the Niagra River below the falls. The photo above is virtually identical to some others found online, and click here for the wiki entry.

Plenty of supervisors

Plenty of supervisors

This one here has several things going on. There’s a bridge over a canal or ditch, a fellow down in the ditch, and several fellows up above on the bridge “supervising” the operations. I can’t tell what kind of work is going on though.

To wander through the internet and wonder what is going on in some other photos, click over to Sepia Saturday.

Expand your view

16 thoughts on “Just what’s going on here?

  1. Wendy says:

    Well, together Grammie and Grandpa Jim told the whole story, I guess.

    Yes, that cable car over the river makes my stomach flip just looking at the picture.


  2. Little Nell says:

    I once went on a cable car in Austria. That’s one I can stick off the list! BTW your link on Mr Linky isn’t working!


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Thanks – I kinda wonder if I forgot to copy my own link and instead pasted the one to Sepia Saturday, haha.


  3. In the last picture there is a crane (you can see the hook and the cables) picking up something from the ditch. But it is impossible (for me) to see what it is. Unfortunately I have no other suggestions.
    And the “photographic discussion” between your grandparents sounds very familiar :)


  4. Auntie Kat says:

    On the last picture it looks like a pipe is traveling horizontally out of the, maybe, road. If that is a road maybe it was washed away by a flood or other natural disaster.

    I’m pretty fearless but I don’t think I would want to cross the river that way. So, what ever is over there is gonna stay over there. I did notice that there is what looks like the landing area in the cliff face on the other side of the river. I looks like a black door.


  5. gluepot says:

    All three are intriguing images, and must have interesting back stories. I presume they are found photos, rather than from your own family collection, so the provenance is no help in providing clues?


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      You presume correctly. I found them in the giant box at my favorite antique shop. They were just to interesting to leave behind, but alas no notes or anything with them.


  6. Bob Scotney says:

    The cable car appears to have alanding station halfway up the slope opposite and may even travel up further. It reminded me of some old ski lifts I have seen.


  7. Alan BURNETT says:

    There is nothing like photographs like these to start everyone speculating. And all that speculation, all those suggestions, just add to what in the first place were a great collection of images.


  8. These pictures do have interesting stories behind them, I’m sure. I would never go across the river that way!

    Kathy M.


  9. postcardy says:

    The cable car looks kind of scary, but I’d rather ride in that than stand on the edge like the guys in the last photo!


  10. Oh dear, count me too in not going on a cable car like that! I’ve been on a few, and at our state fair, but gee I hold my breath until I’m at the other side!


  11. OK I like these games. I guess passenger ship (because of the sun shade and lack of industrial clutter) on the Panama Canal or some other hot climate (because of the sun shade); a cable car across Niagara river (because of the treacherous water); and some washed-out bridge somewhere sometime, but photographed by the assistant to the official looking man (the DOT Bridge inspector?) looking down at the work.


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      You got me searching and this is virtually identical to the cable car over the Niagra River below the falls! Fabulous! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whirlpool_Aero_Car


  12. Joe Townsend says:

    The ship is certainly a bulk carrier, judging by the large raised hatches and the pipes on either side. The crew did want protection from the sun. The piles of materials stored along side the waterway look to be gravel, either coming in or going out.


  13. Amazing how a photo makes us pose many questions. That cable car ride looks like it’s only for the brave or daring. Thanks for the visit to my nook.

    Hazel @ Bedight
    (using my wordpress account)


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