Monday, December 20, 2021

Coulter -- Work of the Dredger at Beale-Street Wharf -- December 20, 2021

San Francisco Call, 03-March-1895

William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the San Francisco Call. Click on the image for a larger view. Here we have a dredger deepening the Beale Street dock, near the present site of the Giants' ballpark. Excessive run-off from the streets and silting from hydraulic mining in the foothills made it necessary to dredge frequently. 

Clearing the Waste of the
Shore From the Channels
of the Sea.
It Is a Constantly Occurring
Work That Must Be Attended To.

A mud-dredger scooping around on the oozy bed of the bay is not a neat nor a beautiful object of marine architecture, but it is attractive in all its uncouthness all the same.

The stains of its ceaseless round of toil are forever upon it, for as long as the attrition of the land goes down into the channels of the sea the huge thing of steam and metal must work. Time was when the tides coming and going swept their own tracks clean, but now the debris from the shore quickly fills the ways of navigation, and the dredger must move it on.

At least once a year on the water front of a great city the bottom of the bay must be scraped down to the hard pan and the constant drift from the streets shoveled away from the wharves.

There is a seeming of reason in the mere mechanical movements of the great arms that dip down to grope in the unseen deeps. One forgets that the mind of the machine is in the hand that manipulates the chains and wheels of the clumsy affair, and for the time being the dredger itself is apparently the mind that guides its motions.

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