Ohio River Baptism. (Courtesy New York Public Library)
Ohio River Baptism. (Courtesy New York Public Library)
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Here’s a view of a baptism taking place in the Ohio River in Downtown Louisville from the New York Public Library. I couldn’t find a date or a precise location for the photo, any sleuths have ideas? It looks like the spire in the skyline could be Central Station, once located at the foot of Seventh Street. The Second Street Bridge, which began construction in 1928 is not visible, but the Mayor Andrew Broaddus Coast Guard vessel dating to 1929, with its signature watchtower, is visible on the wharf.

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Branden Klayko

Branden Klayko

Founder and Editor at Broken Sidewalk
Branden founded Broken Sidewalk in 2008 while practicing architecture in Louisville. He continued the site for seven years while living in New York City, returning to Louisville in 2016. Branden is a graduate of the College of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, and has covered architecture, design, and urbanism for The Architect's Newspaper, Designers & Books, Inhabitat, and the American Institute of Architects.
Branden Klayko

3 COMMENTS

  1. I think you are right about the Central Station appearing in the distance. However, I am not certain that the Life Saving Station is the one that dates from 1928. The Station currently moored at the wharf is actually the 3rd such structure to serve as a Life Saving Station (the first was built in 1881, it was replaced in 1915 by another vessel, and the present station was built in 1928, when the wooden hull of the 1915 station showed wear).

    Based on the appearance of the vessel in the photo (or more specifically the watch tower), it does not appear to be the 1928 Station. It is either an earlier Station or the watch tower was modified (shortened) after this photo was taken.

    According to the National Historic Landmark Designation Report, “The location of the station remained at the foot of Second Street from 1881 to 1936, but the construction of the George Rogers Clarke Memorial Bridge made the relocation of the station necessary. The moorings were moved downriver to the foot of Fourth Street in 1936.”

    As historians with a vast knowledge of the Ohio River, my friends Rick Bell or Chuck Parish would know best.

    The Mayor Andrew Broaddus Life Saving Station is one of eight National Historic Landmarks located in Louisville. Can anyone name the others?

  2. @Joanne Weeter – Joanne is quite right, that is the second of three Life-Saving Stations #10 located at the Falls. The watchtower is very distinctive, much taller than the first and third versions. This photo would have been taken between 1915 and 1928, probably in the earlier time period.

    Rick Bell

  3. Susan Knoer at Master Plans Inc. (and former employee at U of L Photo Archives) is teaching an on-line course on dating historic photos. Seems pertinent given the recent discussion of this photo of the Life Saving Station.

    Here’s the course description from the Master Plans Inc. catalog: AR101 Dating Photographs Photographs are full of information, but it’s not obvious. Clues in the picture itself can narrow the dates, which can identify the person in the picture. You will learn how to track studio dates and locations, date clothing, and date the photograph itself. Useful information for archivists, genealogists and family historians.

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