A completely new and often expensive infrastructure was required for the towing barge route. For example:
Canal and towpath (towing route)
Photo Ganzedijk: Workmen dig channel 1905-1915, Collection Groningen Archives
Panels, of wood and stone
with steps in the rampart at stops
Photo: Staging point and bridge Bieuwketil over the Warffumermaar
Veerhuizen, weeping stables, living room cafes
Photo: (Demolished) spring house (left) at the harbor in Warffum, collection Groningen Archives
At the beginning and end of the route, but also at intermediate stops, ferry houses, a ferry house -sob house in Groningen, in fact, is a collective name for inns or cafes that served as pull or turn springs. Recognizable by the function, without a “fixed appearance”. Often there were also barns, weeping sheds, for the horses. Examples of ferry houses along the Boterdiep Trekvaartroute are the (demolished) ferry house on Torenweg in Warffum. In Onderdendam, the 'Vaartzicht' building was once the home of the commissioner of the towage. The current restaurant In de Valk in Middelstum started as a ferry house.
There must have been many living room cafes. Often at bridges, in places where land and waterways intersect. Such as inn “Rest 'n little” at Bieuwketil on the Warffumermaar, where people only stopped for two minutes… Here, in the short break, at least an (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) drink was available for the traveler. And often he could buy bread or simple groceries there.
Toll booths, toll gates and barriers
Photo: HThe toll gate at the beginning of the Uiterburen with toll guru Berend Wolthof next to it 1900-1907, Collection Groningen Archives
Horses were able to pull the barge via the special towpath. At the intersection with a road was a gate or barrier. It was only later that pedestrians, with or without animals, were allowed to use it. Against payment of tolls. Fines had to be paid if the path was misused. Except for loading and unloading, ships other than tow barges were not allowed to dock on the towpath. Horses were often changed in stopping places, often an inn.
Ship locks with swinging bowls
so that the boat could turn.
Photo: Haven Warffum with part of swing bowl, collection Groningen Archives
Drawing Klokhuis Opwierde, 1880-1920, Collection Groningen Archives
Fifteen minutes before the boat left, a bell rang in the core.
Roller poles, change and iron
Photo: Wooden roll post at Wiedeblik (removed), collection Groningen Archives
The draft route was made as straight as possible, curves cut as much as possible. If this was not possible, bollards were placed, so that the sailing ship was not pulled to the bank. There are still rolling poles between, for example, Onderdendam and the Haantil stop along the Warffumermaar. There are different types of rolling posts. A til is a fixed bridge in Gronings.
The line between the barge and the horse was placed around a rolling pole and the skipper, by giving a counter rudder, ensured that the boat did not hit the side in the bend. A pole with the inscription “Exchange point” indicated that the fairway was so wide that the horses could pass each other. If there was “Iron” on the roller pole, the boats had to lower their masts to pass a bridge.
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