Black Rock Pier

Why did Hagoth choose the Narrow Neck there along the West Sea to launch his “EXCEEDINGLY LARGE SHIP?”

And it came to pass that Hagoth, he being an exceedingly curious man, therefore he went forth and built him an EXCEEDINGLY LARGE SHIP, on the borders of the land Bountiful, by the land Desolation, and LAUNCHED IT FORTH INTO THE WEST SEA BY THE NARROW NECK which led into the land northward. (Alma 63:5)

There was a naturally occurring pier: The Black Rock Pier of Tonawanda near Buffalo.

Blackrock received its name and its reason for existence by virtue of a LARGE WEDGE OF BLACK LIMESTONE FORMATION THAT PROJECTED AT A NORTHWESTERLY ANGLE INTO THE NIAGARA RIVER near the point where School Street and Niagara Street intersect. Its FLAT SURFACE WAS 200 FEET WIDE at its northern end and ROSE FOUR OR FIVE FEET ABOVE THE NORMAL WATER LEVEL OF THE RIVER – Kis-tan-goi, as the Senecas called it, thus formed A NATURAL PIER (Landmark Society, n.d.). THE ROCK FORMED A PERFECT NATURAL LANDING PLACE AND WAS USED AS EARLY AS THE TIME OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION AS A FERRY POINT. (General Motors Tonawanda Engine Plant Expansion, Stage 1 Archaeological Investigation, OPRHP, No. 00 PR 116, August 4, 2000, p. 3-42)

Peter B. Porter, one of the earliest settlers of the Black Rock area and a partner of the portage company (Porter, Barton and Company), believed that their village would become the center of Lake Erie trade, by virtue of the NATURAL HARBOR and because the harbor at Buffalo was often impassable due to sand bars (Severance 1902). (Ibid, p. 3-44)

Buffalo also improved its harbor, however, and once the choice of Buffalo was made as the western terminus of the Canal, Buffalo quickly eclipsed Black Rock as a lake port. Symbolic of this, the rock formation which gave Black Rock its name was destroyed in conjunction with construction of the Erie Canal to Buffalo (Severance 1902; Bingham 1931). (Ibid, p. 3-45)

Black Rock Pier


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