Iron Ore Dock

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Photo From Aug. 24, 1980 issue of Upstate
The date of the creation of the Iron Ore Dock seems to be lost to history. It is presumed that the Iron Ore Dock got its name from shipping iron ore in its early days. Frank Grosz (a life time resident of Sodus Point) tells a story of knowing an elderly man who owned the property where the Ontario, NY ore pit was dug. This man told him that the iron ore from Ontario was shipped to Sodus Point and that is why it was called the Iron Ore Dock. From the book Great Sodus Bay History, Reminiscences and Legends by Walter Henry Green (1947) P. 305 we learn that iron ore initially came from an iron ore vein at Maxwell Creek and later from the Ontario mines, and others in the east part of the county. The Iron Ore Dock was located at the end of what is now Lummis Street and ran in a south east direction toward the Yacht Club. We know from oral interviews that the schooner “Free Trader” left it in the 1850s with cargo and would pick up fugitive slaves in row boats after it departed. Maps of 1875 show that by then it had a single railroad spur that went down its entire length for delivering cargo via the railroad to waiting ships.
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From the 1856 Free Trader’s Manifests and Entry of Merchandise forms we know that Lumber, Wheat and Flour were being shipped out of the bay at that time.
When schooners transported cargo between American ports, they needed to fill out a Manifest which showed the cargo and identified the Captain and vessel.
To see the Free Trader Manifest from Sodus Bay to Rochester dated May 3, 1856 click here:
To see the Free Trader Manifest from Sodus Bay to Rochester dated Oct 6, 1856 click here:
When schooners transported cargo between Canada and the U.S. ports, they needed to fill out a Entry of Merchandise form which showed the cargo, the departure and entry ports and identified the Captain and vessel.
To see the Free Trader Entry of Merchandise dated Sept. 13, 1856 click here:
In April 1881, 50 feet of the wooden Iron Ore Dock was carried away due to the ice breakup on the Bay as reported in the Wednesday, April 20, 1881 issue of the Wayne County Alliance, Sodus NY.
In the June 7th, 1899 issue of the Oswego Daily Palladium, it was reported that the Iron Ore Dock at Sodus Point is being rebuilt and a large freight and passenger station is to be erected at the end of the dock, to accommodate an expected increase of traffic. A week later, tragedy was narrowly averted as the trestle work on the rebuilding Iron Ore Dock caught fire but was quickly extinguished by local citizens averting a major property loss as reported in the June 14th,1899 issue of the Wayne County Alliance, Sodus NY. In July, 1899 tragedy did strike. Frank Ward (a carpenter) in the employ of the Northern Central R.R. drowned off of the Iron Ore Dock when he attempted to swim and retrieve a log he had been working on as reported in the July 21, 1899 issue of the Sodus Record.
In the Feb. 27, 1901 issue of the Newark Arcadian Weekly Gazette, they report that the Northern Central R.R. has entered into an agreement to receive 3,000 tons of Feldspar from Canadian vessels at Sodus Point which will be taken to Trenton, NJ by railroad. The R.R. company will erect a large derrick and extend the Iron Ore Dock to make better facilities for handling these shipments.

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The above photo shows the remains of a 1902 Steam Powered winch believed to have been used for lifting cargo on the Iron Ore Dock

In the December 24th, 1903 issue of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, it is reported that a 60′ x 100′ Ice House is being erected near the Iron Ore Dock by DoVille and Fields for shipping ice south by the Northern Central Railroad Company.
In 1906, coal was also being shipped from the Iron Ore Dock as illustrated in the following sad story…..
The Nov. 2, 1906 issue of The Record recorded a tragedy that occurred near the Iron Ore Dock. A young man named Roy Coons rowed a boat from Margaretta Grove to the iron ore dock to pick up some coal, to which he intended to convey by boat to his home. The boat was in a leeky condition and after he loaded the same and started the row home, the craft suddenly sank. He tried to swim ashore and his cries for help were heard on the dock but he drowned before help could arrive.

The August 24, 1980 issue of Upstate said this about the Iron Ore Dock: “The Iron Ore Dock extended into the Yacht Club Cove and was the center of commercial activity in the bay until about 1920. It then became a dock and later was purchased by a marine construction company which sank several barges on the site”. You can see the Yacht Club in the background.