Saturday, April 16, 2011

Barge Shipping on the Saar River

Below is an image of the town of Saarburg, drawn in the time before photography.  It is a part of a lithograph by Peter Becker.  At the time the print was first made, there was no bridge between the town of Saarburg on the left-hand side of the Saar River and the village of Beurig on the right.  The first bridge was built in 1861, so the lithograph was made at an earlier date, probably about the time that most of our emigrating ancestors lived in the small towns near the Saar. 

On the Saar you can see a Lastschiff (barge). It is pulled by horses along the river on the Beurig side using Leinen (long ropes).  The ropes can just be made out, and the men who guided the horses on the towpath - the Halfen - are invisible.  It is my guess that they are there but that they look like a cluster of trees.  The artist was interested in the castle, the city of Saarburg, and the river itself.  He gave short shrift to the Halfen, as was all too often the way they were also treated in real life.   

However, a postcard from the collection of H.D. Jung of Saarburg shows a picture of one of the Halfen and the strong horses that pulled the barge's load against the tide.

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