The toll collectors await in this terrific old stereoview card showing the lower deck of the world's first railway suspension bridge, which connected Niagara Falls, New York with Niagara Falls, Canada. Called the "International Suspension Bridge," it was completed in 1855 and stood until 1897, several miles south of the famous falls.
The photography was so skilled that with a magnifying glass, you can make out many details, despite the card's 150+ year age. Two men sit across from each other, at the entrance to the lower deck where people and vehicles were allowed. A small sign behind the man at left states RATES, and at the top of the large sign at the right side, we can make out that tolls range between $.50 and $1.00. The lettering below is difficult to make out.
We believe this card was made in the late 1850s-early 1860s, after the bridge was complete but while it was new and interesting. There were two decks -- an upper one for railroad traffic and a lower one for pedestrians and vehicles.
This card is 3-1/2 x 7 inches in size, printed on heavy card stock. It is light blue on the top and gray on the back. On each end in a scrolling banner, is printed CHAS. BIERSTADT, PHOTOGRAPHER, NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. Note the real photographs have rounded tops, and are adhered as tightly as ever. At the bottom of the left photo, in tiny letters, is printed " 170, Interior Suspension Bridge, Niagara." The photograph itself is crisp, clear and sharply detailed.
CONDITION: Superb for its age! -- the worst problem is that the bottom right corner of the right-side photograph has lifted from the backing (we have NOT attempted to reglue it - but this could be restored, as there is no chipping). Otherwise, the only "damage" is simple age deterioration and there is not much! There is allover very slight darkening, so the photos appear sepia toned. Very light surface scuffs and marks but NO spots, NO rips or tears, NO creases. Only light (not terribly distracting) corner bumps (worst on the bottom left).
Item ID: JLB-8
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