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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: M.C. Wootton, 05/1984
PERSISTENCE (log canoe)
Inventory No.: T-508
Date Listed: 9/18/1985
Location: W. Harbor Road , St. Michaels, Talbot County
Category: Object
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1890s
Architect/Builder: Builder: att. to John B. Harrison
Related Multiple Property Record: Chesapeake Bay Sailing Log Canoe Fleet (MPD)
Description: PERSISTENCE is a 32'-4 1/2" sailing log canoe, believed to have been built in the 1890s, possibly by John B. Harrison of Tilghman, Maryland. She is log built in the Tilghman style, with carvel-fitted rising strakes. She has a beam of 6'-11 1/2" and is double-ended with no longhead on her bow. The boat is privately owned and races under No. 12. PERSISTENCE is log-built with carvel-fitted rising strakes and a lapped sheer and rubrail. The construction is tied together with a half-frame amidships. Washboards are supported by sawn hanging knees and form small fore- and after-decks with a peapod-shaped cockpit lined with a coaming. The fore-deck has long splashboards at the bow. Short cleat rails are carried amidships for use with the springboards. There is a wood, V-shaped outrigger with cleat rails along its sides, braced out from the hull with metal. In shape, the canoe is double-ended, with a straight, slightly raking stem and a sharp, raking stern post on which a rudder is hung outboard on pintles. The tiller is led to the afterdeck through the frame of the bumpkin. A centerboard is cased in a trunk located in the cockpit. The canoe is rigged with two masts with adjustable rake--a 44' foremast set into square mast partners on the fore-deck, and a 39' mainmast set in a midships thwart. The bowsprit is set up with a bobstay and bowsprit shrouds with spreaders. The foremast is also stayed with two adjustable shrouds and a forestay. The boat carries a foresail and a mainsail, both with clubs on their clews and sprits. There is a large jib with a club on its foot. The boat was re-converted from power to sail from 1966-1970. Her hull is painted white, with green trim on the rubrail and green bottom paint. There is brightwork trim on the bowsprit and the washboards are white. The boat carries no longhead beneath the bowsprit. Significance: This vessel is significant as being one of the last 22 surviving traditional Chesapeake Bay racing log canoes that carry on a tradition of racing on the Eastern Shore of Maryland that has existed since the 1840s. In addition, it is a surviving representative of the oldest indigenous type of boat on the Bay--the working log canoe--which was developed in the 17th century by early European settlers from the aboriginal dugout canoe. PERSISTENCE is significant as being attributed to the well-known canoe and workboat builder John B. Harrison of Tilghman, Maryland. She was probably built in the 1890s as a working canoe. She was found in 1966 on Kent Island where she had a long tradition of working as an oyster tonging boat. She was purchased at this time by Sidney Dickson who reconverted to sail. The rebuilding took four years and her first race was in 1970. PERSISTENCE is of interest as being one of 3 canoes restored between 1966 and 1970 (along with ROVER and S.C. DOBSON), a period of revival of interest in racing which was followed by the building of two new canoes by two of the same men who had restored those mentioned above. Dickson, restorer of PERSISTENCE, went on to build SPIRIT OF WYE TOWN.


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