Charles River, wassup?

Bob Holtzman

Newbie question: What's a Charles River canoe?
I see many references to Charles River canoes, but I'm under the impression that Charles River was not a builder. Is it a generic type that was popular on said river in Mass.? If so, what characterizes it?
The Charles River canoe was the topic of the 2007 WCHA Assembly. It's as you suggested: a type of canoe rather than a canoe by a specific builder, although Old Town made a model called the Charles River.

The Charles River became a hot-spot for canoeing in the early years of the 20th century. There were many canoe-builders along the Charles... and there were places to rent or store a canoe. Prior to the use of the automobile as a courting-tool, the canoe was considered a very romantic way for a young man to show his appreciation for a lady. This is why the canoe-type popularized by the Charles River builders is also called "a courting canoe".

Courting canoes-- and those by Charles River builders in particular-- are characterized by long decks--- 3 feet or more-- "torpedo" ends-- and lots of mahogany trim (or another fancy wood species, like bird's eye maple). Most courting canoes sported fancy paint-designs.

The canoes were usually stuffed with pillows for comfort and Victrola to serenade the lady... a picnic lunch... and rules of propriety (this was Boston, after all) such as "all persons must be visible above the gunwales".

You may want to use the "search" function above to find some cool pictures...

Thanks for your reply. I associated courting canoes with Chas. Rvr. canoes, so this ad made me wonder:
It's described as a Charles River canoe, but it shows none of the characteristics of a courting canoe.
So I guess that any canoe built along the Charles can technically be termed a Charles River canoe, but the implication of the term is a courting canoe with all the gingerbread. Is that an accurate assessment?
Charles River

Hard to say from the photos, but the canoe in the ad looks like it might be an Old Town. Maybe a "Charles River" Model, but not built on the Charles River. Clear as Charles River Mud - No?:D
There are two kids of Charles River canoes- one called the Charles River model from Old Town (the one in the Craigslist ad is an Old Town), and canoes built in the Charles River area of Massachusetts. Some of the canoes from the Charles River area were decked courting canoes, but these guys made many different styles.