Ken and Mary Kelly, members of Water Wonderland Chapter, have 17 canoes registered with their ACBS membership.  The canoes were created from 1915 to 2006. It wouldn’t surprise us if there are even more.  A wonderful part of this collection is that the unique history of each canoe is being preserved along with the boat and though works of art themselves, the canoes continue to be used.  Here are just a few of their treasures.

1915 Charles River Courting Canoe

Dodo is a wonderful paddling canoe.

This is an exceptional ‘courting’ canoe from the Charles River area near Boston. It has unusually long decks…60″ on each end, so a very small and cozy seating area for the owner and his ‘date’. 

Purchased from a Rhode Island Antique Dealer in 1997, she needed restoration. Challenges included a hole in one of the decks and also in the floor of the seating area. The restoration used as much of the original wood as possible, including the decks (with patched hole), ribs and the planking. The original name Dodo and paint colors with stripe design were also maintained. 

1916 B.N. Morris B-type III 16′ Canoe

One of my favorites. Named for my wife Mary – both a Lady and a Tiger. 

Maker BN Morris of Veazie, Maine is established as one of the highest quality wood and canvas canoe builders, and arguably the best. This company did not compete directly with the Charles River area canoe builders, so didn’t make that many canoes with decks longer than 24 inches. Lady n Tiger is one of the few, with 32″ mahogany decks. A very unique and stylish canoe from this top quality maker.

1915 Kingsbury Torpedo Historic Canoe


Maker Alden Kingsbury was one of the Charles River area builders. “K” features the exaggerated long recurve (end profile) referred to as Torpedo ends. The distance from the most forward point of the end to the top tip of the end is around 16″. This design started mid to late 1910s to add a new styling option for canoe buyers. Like most Charles River made canoes, K has all mahogany trim (trim on wooden canoes refers to the in/outwales, seat frames, decks, and thwarts). Mahogany was the premium wood usually used instead of ash or spruce. 

Restored in 1997, K was in great condition when I found her – so almost all the wood is original. She has a thin, fast hull and is my favorite solo paddling canoe. 

1933 Old Town 16′ OTCA Canoe

Old Town Preservation

A preserved canoe project. The photo is as purchased. It has the original canvas and the heavily checked blue bottom paint was carefully sanded, primed and repainted in hopes of extending the use life long enough to justify the extra effort…still tbd.

Above the rub-railing, the white paint was sanded lightly and then sealed with varnish. This allowed maintaining the original 1933 gold stripe and leaf design. 

The original interior varnish was re-varnished without stripping. This maintained the darkened patina of the old varnish, but hopefully adds enough protection to stand up to regular use for a long time..still tbd. 

I can always replace the canvas and restore the canoe later, but it is only ‘original’ once. Though not as original as when I purchased it, this canoe should be much better to use with the preservation work completed. 

2006 Loon Works 13.5′ Alegro canoe

2006 Loon Works

Made by Tom McKenzie in 2006. Loon Works canoes are very lightweight (this one about 35lbs) perfect for freestyle canoeing, where canoe maneuverability and control are primary considerations. This model is a solo canoe with one seat in the middle.

It will do whatever the paddler instructs…so I’ll need to work on those skills to do this canoe justice. I appreciate how light it is, and how much that helps make it easy to use.

Thank you, Ken and Mary, for preserving these works of art and sharing them with us.

You may recognize this post if you have been a long time viewer of this site.  Occasionally, some of the early news posts will be reposted for more to enjoy.

By the way, Ken Kelly answered the title question with “some canoes did come with their own paddle(s), but most did not. I have about 5 times as many paddles as canoes…so never any shortage of choices”

Please share the story of your boat(s) and up to six pictures by sending an email to [email protected].


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