A century ago, before container ships delivered their cargo to waiting tractor-trailer trucks for transport by road, trains were the primary source of transportation for all kinds of goods. There was a problem, though, when train tracks intersected with water. These were the days before big bridges, so boats called railroad barges would carry the train cars across the waterways to the next-closest railroad tracks on land.
Precious few of these railroad barges remain, and one is going to be celebrated in full regalia next year. The Lehigh Valley Railroad Barge No. 97 is the only surviving, floating, all-wooden example of a Hudson River railroad barge from the years 1860 to 1960. Built in 1914, she is rare not only because of her existence, but also because of her pristine state of preservation—as well as for her decks being open to the public at the Waterfront Museum in Brooklyn, New York.
The Red Hook neighborhood in Brooklyn, where the barge is based, will be the site of a year-long centennial celebration that will start in May. A pre-festivities kick-off ball will be held next month featuring live music, a silent auction and more. All proceeds will benefit the Waterfront Museum Barge, which is maintained in conjunction with Barge No. 97.
Learn more at www.waterfrontmuseum.org.