Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Steam Ferry Joe Edwards

Today's archival image is of the ferry Joe Edwards which once plied the waters of the Annapolis Basin between Annapolis Royal and Granville Ferry. There is something appealing about this scene with the women in their cloaks and men wearing wide brimmed hats. I enjoy how the people in the photograph have posed in places where you can get a clear image of everyone. In early photographs you can find this sort of posing but, as time goes on, the people in the scene tend to get crammed together. Just think how many times you have posed for a group picture with everyone standing shoulder to shoulder while the photographer asks if everyone can get a bit closer.

In the days before the Annapolis Royal to Granville Ferry bridge was built in 1920, the ferry was an essential service. Built in 1881, the Joe Edwards served the community until 1891. The vessel was built under the direction of Capt. Edward Purdy by builder Lowell Oliver of Digby. Captain Samuel Mills was at the wheel of this vessel during her 10 years. In the background you can faintly see the masts of a number of sailing vessels and a paddle wheeler which may be the SS Empress. The SS Empress left Annapolis Royal for Saint John, New Brunswick on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday evenings at 8pm. Cost of the trip to Saint John was $2.00 which was no small sum in the 1880s.

The photograph is a tintype. The damage which you see in the corners is typical of the type of deterioration you can expect to see with this type of image. If you look closely along the right side of the image you can actually see bent metal from the image's backing. There was something else about this image which did not sit quite right with me. Clearly the photograph was taken with Annapolis Royal in the background but the landscape just did not seem as it should. Under magnification I realized that the name Joe Edwards was spelled backward on the cabin of the boat. When I once again looked at the land on the horizon I could clearly see that the photograph was a mirror image.

All for now,
RGS

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