Rescued Canoe from the Flood of 1955

Lazy Lakeview Acres

Delaware River Rat
I recently purchased this canoe from the owner of a Boarding House in the Poconos. It was pulled from the flood waters of the Delaware River near Barryville, NY after Hurricane Diana hit in 1955.

It was restored in 1986 and has only been in the water once since then. It is believed to be a Kennebec but there aren't any markings. However, I did locate the serial number 22869 16.

I would appreciate anything you could tell me about this canoe.

Thanks so much!
Conni
 

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Welcome

The Kennebec records exist in a series of ledgers and are lodged in a museum. Soon, you'll get some specific information about the building of your canoe, which does appear to be a Kennebec. I think Benson is the only one looking these up for folks.

There's some Kennebec information on the Dragonfly site at http://dragonflycanoe.com/id/index.html ... scroll down to "Kennebec" on the left and click on that. Also, you can use the "search" function at the top of this page to see past posts re Kennebec canoes and the Kennebec Company.

You have a very nice canoe. The Kennebec Company was in business in Waterville, Maine from 1910 to about the time of WWII. We are fortunate that the records of this company weren't lost, as they were for other old canoe companies that went out of business.
 
Kathryn,

I checked out Dragonflycanoe.com. Based on the measurements 16' x 34" x 12", if I did it right, there are only two models that could be this canoe, Kennebec or Open Gunwale Canoe.

You mentioned that Benson looks up the information for Kennebec Canoes. Do I need to contact him directly?

Thanks for the quick reply!
Conni
 
Conni,

You've done all you need to do in order to get your build record! I just didn't want you wondering why all the folks asking for Old Town records were getting them within a few hours... and you're waiting. Old Town's records are available for purchase on CD, and several members here have a set and answer requests as we are able... but Kennebec is another story.

You may be right about your canoe's model. The build record will have the final answer... and the original color.

Kathy
 
Kathy,

I am new to this website. I didn't know that someone would willingly "let me in" on the history of my canoe. I thought I would have to do a lot more legwork on my own. How cool is that!

I find it amazing that the build history was documented so well and that there is access to it. Around here, it seems, any records or historical information are forever lost in a fire during the lifetime of the business.

The retired owner thought the color was Gray before it was restored. By the way, it was professionally restored in Norfolk, CT in 1986. Unfortunately, he does not remember the name of the person who restored it.

Thanks again,
Conni

(As for my "Thanks for the Quick Reply," I was referring to your first post to me. It is not often, that you get a first response within 24 hours.):)
 
One of the very nice things about this group of people (WCHA, or old-CANOE nuts, or OLD canoe-nuts) is their willingness to share knowledge and ideas... and besides, the Mission Statement of the WCHA encourages this friendly, helpful behavior-- it's right there on the Main Page-- we are involved with preserving history of these canoes and their builders as much as we are the boats themselves.

With only three of the old canoe companies do we have records that tie the serial number of a canoe to its build record. Old Town's exist because Old Town still exists... and Carleton's exist because Old Town bought the company. Kennebec's exist because someone didn't pitch the ledgers into a fire.

Some canoes have serial numbers with a code built into them that permits some knowledge of the boat's model or year to be divined. Members Dan Miller and Benson Gray and others have put a lot of time into figuring these things out and making the product of their research available. Old boats deserve their history, and those who care for them deserve to know it.

There's a lot to an old canoe... more than cedar and canvas... and each is unique. Each has a story-- where it was paddled, and by whom... various fix-ups and maybe a full restoration... and the nuances of the canoe itself, based on its builder. And the mysteries, sometimes... when nothing is known about an old canoe, and we have to become detectives.

But on days like today, I think of the water and wonder if we'll be able to get out on the lake when Denis is done working. Creating more "history"...

If you have any specific questions, don't be shy...

I'm attaching an old Kennebec ad... interesting sentiment-- sort of what I said. The canoe has a long-deck... yours has the standard heart, which makes it more easily identified as a Kennebec. Open gunwale Kennebecs such as yours also have a piece of trim along the rails at bow and stern that only a couple other companies have on their canoes.

Kathy
 

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A Good "Basic Book"

Hello again, Conni--

Basic information about wood/canvas canoes and their history can be found in Stelmok and Thurlow's "The Wood and Canvas Canoe"... it may help you understand how cool it is to have and paddle a w/c (although I think you "get it"!)... and give you an understanding of the Maine builders, such as Kennebec. The book is available from many sources-- this website -- eBay -- the public library.

Your flood-survivor has a unique history of its own... I hope you are a WCHA member and will receive issues of Wooden Canoe (our bi-monthly journal), because you may want to submit the story of your canoe for all members to read.

Kathy
 
I have been very busy recently so I'm sorry to be so delayed in getting this record posted for you. It is also curious that the last record for a 16 foot long Kennebec is serial number 22864 which might be for your canoe since the hand written four is very similar to a nine. This serial number is shown on page 112 of volume four in the Kennebec ledgers. This was assigned to 16 foot long Kennebec model type A. It was planked by Lane on April 26th, 1941. The rest of the line is blank all of the way across the facing page so it is not clear who finished it, when, the color, or the original shipping destination.

The scans of this build record can be found by following the links at the attached thumbnail images below. It was too large for a single file attachment here so I had to split it down the middle. These original Kennebec records are reproduced through the courtesy of the Maine State Museum.

The microfilms and scans of these records were created with substantial grants from the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA). I hope that you will renew your membership or contribute to the WCHA so that services like this can continue. See http://www.wcha.org/wcha/ to learn more about the WCHA and http://www.wcha.org/join.php to renew.

More information about this and other Kennebec models can be found in the Kennebec catalogs contained on the Historic Wood Canoe and Boat Company Catalog Collection CDs available from http://www.wcha.org/catalog/ and http://www.dragonflycanoe.com/cdrom.htm on the web.

It is also possible that you could have another number or manufacturer if this description doesn't match the canoe. Feel free to reply here if you have any other questions.

Benson
 

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