Decked over spoonsons


New Member
We found a canoe with long decks and covered sponsons here in the Lakes Region of NH. It has a number on it 16556 which might indicate a mid to late 1940's boat but it looks much earlier then that - maybe circa 1900 to 1920's.

Anyone know if there's a reason it might have a long number on it - maybe made by a different company or for a different company like Peterboro?
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Can you post a picture? There are several companies that have five-digit serial numbers, which made long-decked, sponsoned canoes. Pictures are uploaded by scrolling down to "manage attachments", and clicking on that to get a browse box that will let you find a picture in your computer.

If you don't have any pictures, please describe the canoe as best you can. Is the serial number on the stem, or on a metal plate, or both?

There's an Old Town with that serial number, built between January and April 1911, but it doesn't have sponsons. Sponsons could be added at a later time, but usually it's the other way around: the sponsons are discarded at a later time. Old Town 16556 is an 18 foot CS (common sense) grade Otca, with 20 inch decks. If the long decks on your canoe are 20 inches, and if your canoe is 18 feet long, this could be the right record. The decks are ash, as are seats and thwarts... gunwales are spruce and planking is red Western cedar. It was painted dark red and two dark red repair kits were ordered. It had a painter ring and a keel. It was shipped 4/10/1911 to Sault Ste Marie, Michigan.

Please don't assume this record goes with the canoe you found... as I said, there are many canoe builders who used a serial number system that would place five digits on the stem of the canoe... the best way to tell for certain is to share some pictures.

I'll add the scan for this OT canoe. Scans of approximately 210,000 records were created with substantial grants from the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA) and others. Additional information about the project to preserve these records is available at if you want more details.

Please join WCHA or make a tax deductible contribution so that services like this can continue. See to learn more about the WCHA, to watch a 10 minute video about WCHA and our programs and to join. If you are already a WCHA member, THANK YOU!



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Thanks so much for that great information. 1911 sounds more like it. We don't have pictures but we've made an offer to buy this piece and we'll have photos as soon as it comes out of the shed it's hanging in.

My husband said the number was on a metal placque and he thought it was on the bottom of the boat.

I do think the sponsons were original because the patina is too consistent throughout.

Thanks again!

Cathy Sykes, Dragonfly
Old Town did not put serial numbers on a metal plaque... Old Town serial numbers are embossed into the wood of the stem at both ends. This canoe doesn't seem to be an Old Town, but may be one of many others, and the 1911 date isn't the right one.

This is why we need a picture. Off the top of my head, I know that Morris and Kennebec canoes have serial numbers that are five digits long, which may be found on a metal plate.

The most important thing, when buying any canoe, is whether or not you like it... and it sounds like you and your husband have found an interesting canoe, no matter what it is. You've arrived at a good place for "diagnosis and treatment" of an old canoe... there are many here who'll give you support and encouragement and lots of help bringing the ol' girl back to life, and onto the water.

I'm attaching a couple pictures here, which may help you figure out who built your canoe. One is the serial number plate on the deck of a Kennebec, the other is a serial number plate on the stem of a Morris (this is on the floor of the canoe, beneath the deck). You may want to check the canoe identification page at scroll down on the left to Kennebec, Morris, Peterborough, Old Town... anything you've heard of, which you think your canoe may be.

We love pictures... and we love learning from the mystery-canoes folks bring in here!



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Trick photo?


Is the Morris photo the one that you wanted to attach? It is clearly a Morris beaver tail stem but that nice little tag is no where to be found. Hm, control ++++. Yup, not there. Gonna be fun stripping that one;)

Well, y'know how you look at those files when you're browsing for the right one... and nothing says "Morris serial number plate"... so, you settle for the one that says "Morris stem".... I'll try again!

This time I got files that came up with thumbnails! Cool... this should be the right one!

It does help a lot to have an unpainted interior in your canoe.



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