I had referred to this structure as a crane so many times I was shocked to learn that it wasn’t the case at all. Given its close proximity to the Queenston Quarry that label just seemed to fit, despite the fact that upon closer inspection there are no obvious pulley systems up top. The truth is far more interesting.
This rusted tripod is in fact a Cold War era radio microwave communications tower. It was built by Fleet Industries in the 1950s under contract from Siemens Electric, and used to calibrate large parabolic dishes that were apparently destined for the D.E.W. Line. The Distant Early Warning line was a string of radar stations north of the arctic circle which stretched all the way from Alaska to Baffin Island, tasked with monitoring the airspace for any incoming threat from the Soviet Union.
More than 100 dishes are said to have been tested here, calibrated by sending signals back and forth to another tower in the vicinity of Line 9 and the Niagara Parkway in the village of Queenston. I’ve yet to find the exact spot but I am looking.
If this operation required some of the tree cover on the escarpment to have been cleared, in the 50 years since most of it has grown back and the site itself is in a fair amount of disarray. The remnants of old campfires and an unfortunate amount of broken glass litter the site, which is unmarked.
A developer who was interested in building a resort (of some sort) at the now-defunct Queenston Quarry suggested memorializing this site but nothing’s come to fruition yet. That developer should get a fair amount of credit though for unveiling the history behind this spot as part of their proposal.