The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Buffalo and Black Rock Gazette (Buffalo, NY), 31 Jan. 1828, page 3

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Dreadful and Unprecedented Storm.--On Sunday Evening last, commenced a gale, more in the character of a tornado, than anything else, which continued unabated throughout the night; and it di not finally fall until the middle of the next day. We have resided in this town sixteen years; and our opinion is, that there was a gale in 1812 or 13, which raised the water within a few inches as high as that of Sunday night; but no winter storm has ever before had the same effect. The wind came down from the S.W. and the waves covered the whole of the south or uppermost pier, which forms and protects the entrance to this Harbour, for 10 or 12 hours. The subsiding of the flood, showed the efects of super-human power. The whole extent of the old pier, constructed by Judge Wilkeson about 8 years since, has been broken, carried away, or the top timbers removed. Nearly the whole extent of the bottom of the Pier is supposed to be sound. It will be recollected, that the general government, two winters since, made an appropriation of some $15,000, for the repair of the old, and for the putting down of new pieces, for the protection of this Harbour. Messrs. Baker & Merrill, put down last summer, a new pier, and put some repairs on the old one. The new part does not appear to be much damaged; but the foundation for the new Light House, intended to be erected at the end of the Pier, appers to have settled considerably. The water entered all the warehouses, excepting that of I.S. Smith, Esq. The consequence of which was, some damages to salt, ashes, &c. have been sustained to the amount of, perhaps, 5 or 600 dollars: this, however, is merely conjectural. The whole of the lower village was one extended sheet of water; much wood, lumber, timber, &c. shifted its positon, and much is, doubtless, lost. There was also numerous cases of suffering during the storm, from the water surrounding a great many dwelling houses. The steamboat Superiour [sic], schrs. Commerce and Superiour, together with the packet Lafayette, were driven from their fastenings, and are now aground, or high and dry--it is stated, that they can all be got off, without difficulty.

The extent of the damage to the Pier, we publish as we received it from two gentlemen, one living in this village, and the other in that of Black Rock.

The fury of the storm also visited the Niagara River. Fraser's & Co.'s Horse boat, together with the Pier and Wharf, where it was fastened, at Waterloo, opposite Black Rock, were all swept away; and the Horse Boat lodged upon the west bank of Squaw Island. It can be got off. The steamboats Henry Clay and Niagara, parted their fastenings, in Black Rock Harbour, but they brought up, 40 or 50 rods below the warehouses, without injury. The aperture, at the west end of the dam, was not materially enlarged; but the sloop-lock sustained some injury in the gates, &c. The water rose in the river, it is stated, as high as the Pier, which was uninjured. The towing path, on the Harbour, near where the Buffalo Canal leaves the same, was injured, by removing some of the top timbers.

Disasters, like the present, are deeply to be regrettee [sic]; but, they are not to be brooded over, they mus[t] be repaired; and, we speak truly, when we say, that a paramount interest, will impel the National and State Governments, to repair, in the most prompt manner, the injury which this Harbour has sustained. The revenue of the U. States, is increased by the facilities of safe and accessible harbours, on the ocean and lakes; and the canal revenue, (which is this State's) will be seriously injured, should procrastination take the ground which vigour should occupy. Suitable and timely representations to both governments, will have the best effects.

The repairs should and ought to be done the present winter. If the weather continues freezing two weeks, a bridge will be formed, so that materials could be brought on the spot; and, in the position of the Pier of this Harbour, we have no doubt but that sections of it could be put down, and filled better, when the lake is frozen over, because the ice can be occupied by the workmen, and the water entirely without agitation.

The situation, too, of property and real estate in the lower village, will suffer, if the ground remain[s] without dikes, or an elevation of several feet. Diking would undoubtedly answer a valuable purpose; as the citizens have it in their power, to construct watertight cellars, from water-lime cement, which is easily obtained.

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Column 3
Date of Original:
31 Jan. 1828
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Richard Palmer
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Buffalo and Black Rock Gazette (Buffalo, NY), 31 Jan. 1828, page 3