United States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign Commerce.

Consular reports, Issues 188-191 online

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banks were thousands of tons of stone, the blocks of which, as they came from under the bush
hammers of the small army of stonecutters, were marked for the nositions in the wall of the
lock which they now occupy.

The walls of the lock, which are 1,100 feet in length on each side, contain about 70,000
cubic yards of masonry, and all of this, with the exception of about 7,000 cubic yards, was
put in place in a little over five months of the year 1893 — more masonry, it is said, than has
before been built in one structure in the same time. The final change in the designs for llie
lock was made in the autumn of 1892, and the cause for this great speed of construction is
found in the fact that in the summer of 1893 the United States Government ordered the col-
lection of tolls on Canadian vessels passing through the American lock. This stimulated the
Canadian Government to offer the contractors a bonus of $90,000 for completing the lock by
the end of 1893, the contract then existing calling for its completion by the end of 1894.
To enable the contractors to complete so large a contract in so short a time, the plant and staff,
the contractors say, had to be nearly doubled, and the greatest energy put forth by all con-
cerned. After the work on the walls was completed, that on the culverts at the Ixniom of the
chamber was carried forward. 1 here are four of these culverts. The dimensions of the valves
at the filling end are 8 by 8 feet, and at the emptying end 8 by 10 feet. l?y the improved
system adopted, the entire chamber can be filled in six or seven minutes and emptied in four
or five minutes.

The walls erected and the receptacles for the lock and auxiliary gates in readiness, the
chamber was flooded, and the gates — immense structures of wood and iron, constructed on
the floor of the chamber — were floated into position by means of pontoons, and the chamber.

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with the exception of the electrical appliances used to move the gates and operate the valves,
was ready for use. The last stone was put in place ou November 1 6, six weeks ahead of the
time stipulated in the agreement by which the bonus was to be given for the shortening of
the original time allotted by a year.


We now come to that portion of the canal about the construction of which there has been
so much criticism. This is the western entrance. It was intended at the outset to have a
stone wall all the way from the bottom, but the department, it is understood, decided to have
crib work, because of the difference in the cost. Ultimately, it was decided to have a crib
work foundation to within 6 inches of low-water line, surmounted by a masonry wall. It
was in this wall that the bulging occurred, about which the public have heard a good deal.
According to the statements of the contractors and Messrs. Crawford and Keefer, a portion
of the crib work bearing the wall was forced out by the settling of the filling behind the crib.

* * * The contractors, immediately upon the bulging being called to their attention, set
to work under the directions of the Government engineers to strengthen the wall. Supports
imbedded in the boUom of the channel were put in, the space behind being filled in with
concrete. The Canadian Pacific Railroad crosses the canal near the western entrance by a
swing bridge, which rests on the pier built in the canal 50 feet from the south side, thus nar-
rowing the passage to about 90 feet clear at that part. Having a bridge of this description
here is undoubtedly a mistake, and it is a considerable eyesore. However, according to report
at the "Soo," objection to the ol)structive pier is to be met by its removal this winter. The
power company, who are carrying to completion the largest pulp mill in the world, need a
swing bridge over their tail race. The swing over the canal is of a length suitable for their
purpose, and, it is said, the Canadian Pacific Railway will substitute a full swing over the
canal and dispose of the present structure to the power company.

The dredging and crib work of the upper or western entrance was let to Messrs. Allen &
Fleming, of Ottawa, the dredging being sublet to Messrs. Hickler Bros., of Sault Ste. Marie,
and the contract for the construction of the piers to Mr. I. H. E. Secretan. This work is
now practically completed, as is the building of the 2,000 feet of floating booms on each side
of the main channel, which was Mr. Secretan's work. Messrs. Hugh Ryan & Co. sublet the
dredging of the lower entrance to Messrs. J. Hickler & Sons, Buffalo; the crib work to
the entrance was sublet to Messrs. George & White, and the contract for the lock gates was
given to Mr. Roger Miller, of Ingersoll — all being men of acknowledged ability in their
respective lines. The contractors had a most efficient staff of men in all branches of the work.


The opening of the canal took place on September 9, 1895, Messrs. Ryan & Co.' work
having been ready by the middle of June, but other parts of the work having been delayed.

* * ♦ Since that time — a little over thirty days — upwards of 400,000 tons have been
locked through, the greatest single lockage being that of three steamers of the Minnesota
Steamship Company, each over 300 feet long — longer than the chamber of the canal — to which
reference has been already made.

The following, from the Sault Ste. Marie News, published on the American side, shows
that the competition of the Canadian canal is felt and appreciated :

" The September report of St. Mary's Falls Canal shows an increase in evcrjrthing for the
month, excepting the freight tonnage, which is due to the fact that the Canadian lock has
been opened and in operation since September 9, and that 414 vessels have been locked
through it, having a registered tonnage of 312,924 tons. The report shows a difference of
77,950 tons over that of 1894. The combined tonnage of the two canals shows an increase
of about 150,000 tons over the corresponding month of last year."

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In a recent issue of the Marine Review, reference is made to the work, in the following

** Notwithstanding all that has been said of a probable levy of tolls on the new Canadian
canal at Sault Ste. Marie and rumors that the Government would never put the canal into
full operation, but simply keep it as a reserve passage to and from Lake Superior, the canal
has been opened, free of any disadvantage to vessels of the United States, and the opening has
occurred at a time when the relief afforded to the overcrowded American lock will repre-
sent thousands of dollars in increased commerce. When it is understood that practically the
entire commerce of Lake Superior is carried on in vessels of the United States, this action
of the Dominion Government is the more welcome and more surprising. Heavy charges are
involved in the maintenance of the canal, but vessel masters all report that the service at the
lock is of the highest efficiency. People on this side wonder why Canada has undertaken
the expense of this canal, but the disposition in England is to encourage the Dominion au-
thorities. All of the London papers contained extended notices of the opening of the canal.
The following from the London Post is indicative of the feeling in the mother country : * Al-
though Lake Superior commerce b now carried on very largely in vessels of the United
States, Port Arthur and the district surrounding it is rapidly rising in importance, and it
would seem suicidal for Canada to permit the possibility of a great trade route from I^e
Sup>erior outward being at any moment closed against her by the jealous tariff of a foreign
and commercially hostile canal, and she has done wisely to keep the path open for herself.' "

The canal, as has been pointed out, is at the western end of the town of Sault Ste. Marie,
and for lack of regular conveyances it is difficult to reach from the center of the town, yet
there are few visitors to the place who do not make it a point to make the journey and
examine the work. And there are few Canadians who see the lock and the rapidity and pre-
cision with which it is worked by the complete appliances at both ends of it, who do not feel
proud that Canada possesses a work that renders her independent. There can be no more
imposition of canal tolls, as there was in 1892. Canadian shipping can now pass without
impediment from one end of the lakes to the other, nor does any churlish spirit suggest with-
holding from American shipping any privileges in this canal which Canadian shipping enjoys.

All things considered, the chamber in the Canadian canal — 60 feet wide and 900 feet long,
closed by wooden gates perfect in their miterage, of great strength, and unaffected by atmos-
pheric variation — will meet all needs for many years to come. From a scientific standpoint,
it is an achievement which places Canada in the first rank in canal building, and the con-
tractors are entitled to the distinction of having carried through one of the largest and most
important works of the kind in any part of the world.

Mr. Clergue, the manager for the power company at the " Soo," an American whose
knowledge of the cost of great works is extensive, holds that the construction has been at
low cost, and he considers the work on the canal as of a superior quality. American engi-
neers who have inspected it are said to have expressed the same opinion, and all who have
seen it have been surprised by its magnitude as a structure and its great usefulness to men.
♦ « * * « * *


Standing upon the iron bridge of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, which stretches
in many spans over the turbulent rapids of the St. Mary's River, one sees on one side what
has the appearance of a compact and populous city, and on the other a scattered town strag-
gling along the water front, a picturesque level withal, running back to a tree-clad ridge,
from which many pretty homes look down. It has puzzled many to account for this remark-
able development on one side, as compared with the slow growth on the other, but the reason
is not difficult to discern. The canal on the United States side of the river is the secret of
the progress of what is known as the American " Soo."

They that live at the East and have never made a journey over the upper lakes and whose
knowledge of conditions there is founded, not upon observation, but upon report, can form

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no idea of the surprising activity of the * Soo " or conceive comprehensively the immense
traffic that daily comes to its gates. Above the rapids, the river pursues a short and devious
way to Lake Superior; below, the stream holds a tortuous course to I.ake Huron. The dis-
tance l^tween lake and lake is infinitesimal as compared with the great reaches of navigable
water above and l)elow, yet into this narrow water course comes the entire shipping of the
lakes, it may be said. From the opening of navigation in the early spring until its close at
the beginning of winter, there can be seen at the "Soo" an endless procession of all kmds
of craft up and down the stream, and all through the hours the visitor there is reminded of
the never-ceasing activity by the significant signaling of the passing craft, from the sonorous
bellow of the big liners to the shrill piping of the towing fleet, all pressing eagerly forward
on missions which mean future to many. It is impossible that those resident on the United
States side, having a canal that gave them a monopoly in moving this immense tonnage, should
not share in the profit so great a traffic must bring wherever it touches. It meant a demand
for ship chandlery, coal, provisions of all kinds, and supplies to meet the personal needs of
officers and men, and, further, it meant a large increase in population, attracted thither by the
opportunities which the ever-growing shipping trade offered in the way of work. Thus the
Michigan " Soo" grew, the basis of the growth being the canal. ITie United States Govern-
ment augmented this by making the place a military station and by establishing an engineering
office, with a permanent staff" of engineers, who have under direction and supervision the canals,
for there will shortly be two in operation on that side, and the improvements in the river below
where the channel passes through American territory, thus adding greatly to the importance
of the place.

In the meantime, the Canadian "Soo" lay in a state of comparative quiescence, neither
profitable nor encouragitig, looking over at the bustling town rapidly extending along the
opposite bank, and wondering when similar expansion would come her way. At times she
girded herself up and made a bound forward, holding the advanced position she thus attained ;
but these spasmodic efforts, while not without general benefit in their results, were not so sat-
isfactory as steady expansion would have l)een. Then, a decade or so ago, a land boom
came ; not one of those inexplicable upheavals that lift land to heights unattainable by ordi-
nary mortals,. but a calm, decorous, and gentlemanly boom, the seductiveness of which, though
subdued, was insidious, and the results in a degree fully as disastrous as those which follow
the bold-faced and brazen boom that has so sorely afl*ected some places we know of. They
that had their feet planted in the (Canadian " Soo," assured that the whirligig of time would
bring prosperity, knew that what they looked for would not come through a land boom. It
was plain to them that the canal was the strength of the Michigan " Soo," the center of Us
activity, and, in a great measure, the source of its fortune ; and until something should be
done to attract shipping to the Canadian side and equalize the chances for business, there
could be little hope of the ])rogress they looked for. Ships innumerable could be seen pass-
ing up on the other side, to be lifted around the rapids and sent on their way to Lake Supe-
rior, and ships innumerable could be seen slowly hauling out of the lock and bearing away
down stream, giving the Canadian side a wide berth.

But all this is altered now. The Canadian ** Soo" has its own canal, and the residents,
when they hear ship horns roar three longs and two shorts, know that the shipping trade is
coming their way ; that at last the monopoly of the Michigan " Soo " is broken ; that the Cana
dian "Soo," plainly the nucleus of a great city, has fully entered upon the broad path along
which prosperity holds out an open and welcoming hand. Already the effects of the oi>ening
of the canal are felt. The demand for supplies which the new traffic has created is at present
beyond local production, and it has been estimated that the daily sales of provisions, etc., now
total $500 a day, and the Canadian "Soo" has reason to believe that before this time next
year this sum will be largely increased. In this connection, it may be pointed out that, while
there are many thousands of acres of land in this vicinity awaiting tillage, there are few tillers,
yet the whole continent does not present a better field for farming operations. Not in wheat,
for it has been demonstrated that wheat does not do well in this locality, bat in coarse grains,

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roots, and vegetables of all kinds. A few weeks ago the annual show of the agricultural
society of the district was held, and at that show there was a very fine display of roots
and dairy products. The onions shown were as large as the early Bermuda, and by eastern
men were considered to be a splendid sample. If the land about here can produce vegetables
such as these in quantity, it is the best section of Ontario in this respect, as there are few
localities capable of producing so fine roots and vegetables. In small fruits, also, this region
excels. There is a man at the " Soo" who has made a fortune out of wild raspberries, they
grow so plentifully in the surrounding country. There is a range of townships east of the
** Soo" the land in which is as productive as any in Canada — fine clay loam, clear from stumps
and stones, and ready for tillage — and the country north and west offers equal facilities for the


Berlin's Industrial Exhibition will open promptly on the ist of May
and continue till October 15 of this year. All the important buildings are
erected ; only a few weeks of work are needed in many to prepare them for
the exhibition. The city of Berlin is taking a very lively interest in this
effort to present a survey of her industries; the promoters are very sanguine
of a large attendance of Americans during the summer.

Although not conceived on the scale of an international exhibition, the
Berliner Gewerbe Ausstellung has been planned and carried out in such a
way as to insure a pleasant impression on the part of foreign visitors. The
buildings are for the most part of no great height, but are relieved by pictur-
esque turrets and pinnacles, and are scattered about a suburban park. The
material is iron framework, filled in with mortar or beton.

The location of the exhibition is a happy one. It lies on the left bank
of the River Spree, in a park called Treptow, whose small lakes have been
enlarged and connected by canals in order to furnish the necessary water
views and accessories, in addition to the broadec sheet of the River Spree.
Distant a cab drive of half an hour from the business center of the city, the
exhibition can be easily reached in from fifteen to thirty minutes by steam
from the various stations of the Ringbahn, a circular railway system of Berlin,
as well as by the small fast steamboats up the river.

Special attention has been given to the restaurant feature and to supply-
ing visitors with good instrumental music. A theater has been built on the
lines of an old building of Berlin and the military and other bands for which
the city is noted will add to the attractions. There are, further, a race course
and a place for cycle, ball, and other sports, a fishery exhibit, a village of
seventeenth-century dwellings and public buildings representing old Berlin,
a Cairo street, like that at the Chicago World's Fair, a cleverly managed
Alpine panorama representing the Ziller Thai, captive balloon, telescope
with the highest magnifying power, imitation steamship built on land and
other edifices and popular attractions common to large fairs.

The chief building, in which the products of Berlin factories in metals,
glass, porcelain, leather, and india rubber are to be shown, covers 60,000

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square meters and is of light iron and beton work. Its entrance is by a
semicircular portico into a large restaurant marked by a dome which is
framed between two square towers of an Italian style of architecture. From
this entrance one sees at the end of a long artificial lake, excavated where the
playground used to be, another building with tall, round tower and semi-
circular portico below. The tower is a water tower, furnishing the various
lakes and buildings with water, but the portico and the building behind,
which abuts on the tower, form a restaurant, the largest on the grounds.
Cascades and fountains will play at the foot of the tower into the artificial

The fishery building, of a Scandinavian style of architecture, with steep,
green roofs, lies directly on the river front, and, by a covered way, is joined
to a similar building for water sports, navigation, and food products. Chem-
ical products are noted exports of Berlin; a special building is given to
chemistry, photography, and scientific instruments. Another is devoted to
education and hygiene; a third to gas industries. But enough has been
mentioned to show that the exhibition is worth a visit on the part of Amer-
icans who are planning a trip abroad during the coming spring and summer.
Such as so intend may be recommended to stop at Hamburg, see the new
canal between the Baltic and the North Sea, visit the international naval ex-
hibition at Kiel, which will be open, and then, take in the Berlin Industrial
Exhibition on their way to South Germany or Austria, to Holland, Belgium,
or Switzerland, to Denmark or Russia. Special rates may be offered during
the coming summer by the Hamburg American Steamship Company and
by the North German Lloyd, whose steamers run to Bremen.

Although delays have made the presence of many American pictures at
the Berlin International Art Exhibition doubtful, there is again a chance
that the gallery which I had the honor to announce as reserved for art works
from the United States will be occupied by a collection of paintings now
being brought together in New York. These exhibitions, and the many
permanent attractions of Berlin in the way of museums of art, history, and
science, warrant the recommendation that persons who propose to visit
Europe this year should begin their trip with northern Germany.


Consul' General,

Berlin, March p, i8g6.


The growing manufactures and industries of the city of Berlin have been
long regarding with a certain jealousy the old-established centers of com-
merce elsewhere in Germany, such as Leipsic, Hamburg, Nuremberg, and
Frankfort. In the autumn of the year 1893, ^ number of merchants met
and founded the Berliner Messe, in order to establish, for the capital of the
nation, a couple of annual fairs, one in the spring, the other in the autumn.

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which should draw away, more especially from Leipsic, the buyers of paper
and metal articles, books, and furs, who have, for so many decades, been
wont to frequent her yearly markets.

The first efforts in 1894 were not large and not largely attended, but had
the effect of causing Leipsic to erect a new edifice for the use of her mer-
chants and their visitors. Berlin has responded by erecting a yet larger
building, which has inscribed on its German-Gothic front in large gold letters
" Berliner Mess Palast.'*

The Mess Palast was opened to-day at 1 1 a. m. by speeches and ceremo-
nies in which figured the Oberbihrgermeister and representatives of the police
department (here an independent organization depending on the Crown, and
therefore removed from municipal control), of the elders of the Berlin Trade
Guild, and of foreign countries, in the persons of the consuls-general. A
gala dinner will be given to-night at one of the principal hotels. In the
speeches, one note is almost always to be detected, namely, resentment at
the way in which the Prussian and the imperial governments coquette with
the agricultural and bimetallist parties and ignore the services of the commer-
cial classes of Berlin.

It is true that at Court and in certain sections of the Reichstag, there
seems to be a disposition to deal unfairly with Berlin. This is seen in the
comparative overtaxation of the city ; also, in the expending on schools in
the country of funds levied for city schools. The city authorities do not
like interference on the part of the police in street railways, building plans,
and other matters, nor do they enjoy the constant interruption of traffic
consequent on the closing of streets because of Court festivities. But the
most serious trouble is the aggressive character of the policy pursued by the
landowning classes, which aims at obtaining, on the one hand, larger subsi-
dies from the national treasury while raising the cost of food products, and,
on the other, exciting foreign states to reprisals by increasing the duties on
imported goods.

The Berliner Mess Palast is a large building of five stories, surrounding
a capacious paved courtyard, which lies in the southeastern section of the
city. Its front on the Alexandrinen Strasse (No. no) is not very large, but
as one enters through a first courtyard the lot expands. Elevators and lifts
for goods are found at the corners. There are restaurants and writing rooms,
many well-lighted separate shops, and several halls for smaller shops or booths.
The Messe of 1894 had the effect of bringing out a good many small manu-
facturers and shops. The present building is expected to further encourage
the smaller industrial adventurers, the house industrials, and industrial-art
workmen, who can not command capital enough to keep a permanent shop

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 188-191 → online text (page 16 of 102)