Paper Boats are Hard to Find!

There are only a few survivors of the Paper Boat era. We have tracked down four hulls, although we have searched far and wide. If you live in the NE United States there is one perhaps not too far from where you are. Otherwise you're out of luck.

You can choose from three locations:

Finger Lakes Boating Museum in Hammondsport, NY now has the 30-foot paper single rowing shell that was previously across town hanging on a wall at the Glenn Curtiss Museum. It should be more at home here among other boats that once navigated Keuka Lake. The museum is located in repurposed buildings that previously housed part of the Taylor Wine Company. Click here for a photo of the Hammondsport shell arriving at its new home. You will notice that the hull is pretty much intact, but that most of the paper decking is missing.

The Resnneselaer County Historical Society in Troy, NY has one 26 foot paper rowing shell in its collection. It is rigged with a sliding seat for a single rower. The last time I saw it, it was hanging in the carriage house, which is behind their main building(s). It is a little hard to see in this location. Their library has a good set of city directories and information on Waters & Sons.

The Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, NY has TWO paper hulls.

- One is a 14 ft rowboat that is in poor condition. It shows the signs of serious neglect before it was acquired by the museum. The hull has sagged, some of the wood parts are broken, the paint is peeling, and there are a couple of holes in the hull. But... it has a Waters and Balch name plate, so we can be reasonably sure that it is authentic.

- The second is a 20 ft long "coxswains gig". It has a seat for a single rower and can be configured with a seat for an additional person in the stern. It is in remarkably good condition. It was stored for many years in a boathouse in Glenns Falls NY before it was donated to the museum.

NOTE: Both of the ADK museum paper boats are in their storage facility & are not on public display. Advanced arrangements are required to spend some time with them. There are scheduled storage shed tours in the summer that might give you a quick look. Even if you can't see a paper boat, the museum is an interesting place with many boats on public display as well as great deal of information on the Adirondacks. A visit to NY's North Country would be remiss without a stop!

If there are more paper hulls out there we are eager to hear of them! (email address on home page).

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© Ken Cupery 2014