This photo shows the scene from above, after the icy crash.

Attendees of festive events at the Tewksbury Lodge in Riverfest Park may or may not be aware of the maritime wreck that gives the venue its name. On January 21, 1959, a horrific chain of events led to massive destruction throughout the Old First Ward. The freighter MacGilvray Shiras, tied up for the winter beside the Concrete Central Elevator, was hit by drifting ice, causing it to snap its mooring and ram another freighter, the Michael K. Tewksbury. Both ships proceeded down river, with the Tewksbury ramming and destroying the Michigan Avenue bridge. The dam created by the now-jammed ships caused rivers of water and ice to flow into surrounding neighborhoods. Why talk about such a frigid event at the height of late summer? Because now is the perfect time to take a Buffalo River History Tour for a scenic exploration of this and other major events along the river.


Elizabeth Licata is Editor-in-Chief of Buffalo Spree Magazine.

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