Coming’ Round The Bend

from the book "Ralph May Remembers"

"I was one of those fortunate lads to be brought up within a half block from a swing bridge in New Bremen. There were three of these bridges in the town and one lift bridge over the main street, and the boats were still coming through when I was a boy.

Seeing a boat coming round the bend south of town, it was not long until a group of boys and girls would gather on the bridge, leaning over the railing and waiting for the boat and the mule team as it drew closer and closer until the bow would gently bump the ridge open, being guided to the one side by a stretch of timber extending out into the water from the bridge. You see, the bridge had to be bumped from the one end in order to properly swing it round on it’s track midway to let the boat pass through...."

According to May there were two other bridges of this type in New Bremen, one at First Street and the other at Second Street. The Bridge on Monroe Street was a lift bridge or one that would swing around to leave the canal boat pass underneath.

Lock No. 1

from the book "Ralph May Remembers"

"It was quite a thrill to ride a canal boat from the Plum street bridge to the lock, sometimes working the hand-pump for the free ride.

We would wait for the lock to fill up and the gate opened; and then step off the boat after it had entered inside the lock. The clearance on each side was about a foot. Then, after the gates were closed we would watch the boat as it slowly sank to the level of the canal on the other side, as the wickets were opened and the water left out."

Sailing On Rabe’s Pond

from the book "Ralph May Remembers"

The boys in my neighborhood in New Bremen were fortunate in having Rabe’s Pond so close to where they lived.

Of course the whole area of the canal, of which Rabe’s pond was an outlet, added to our pleasure in so many ways during all the seasons of the year. And at that time it was a beautiful body of water with hardly any pollution of any kind. In fact, during our winter sports on the canal, if we were thirsty all we did was to make a hole in the ice and stretch ourselves out and drink the cold water with no ill effects that I can remember.