Many of today’s adult boaters started out messing around in small boats while at summer camp. If you are one of them, you’ll appreciate the recent refurbishment of a 1960 vintage camp canoe that was restored and relaunched at Calvert Marine Museum (CMM).
Fifty-eight years after it was originally launched, a vintage 25-foot Old Town camp canoe was relaunched in October at the CMM. Built in Maine in 1960, this classic canvas canoe was used for years at YMCA summer camps in Calvert County.
The canoe first splashed into the water at Camp Druid Hill, a residential summer camp for African American youths from Baltimore. The camp, which was situated on the Patuxent River near Huntingtown, MD, is now King’s Landing Park. Large canoes like this one were sometimes referred to as “war canoes” and were very popular at summer camps, where they were used to teach water safety and the importance of teamwork to children. The 25-foot model seats an experienced paddler in the bow and stern and a crew of up to 12 campers.
When Camp Druid Hill closed, the wooden boat was retired. In the late 1970s Augie Selckmann, Calvert County resident and avid canoe paddler, bought the canoe at auction for a mere $25 and covered it with fiberglass. The canoe was later sold to George Surgent, a CMM boatwright. After having spent many years in storage, the canoe required eight months of restoration, which was completed by volunteers from the Patuxent Small Craft Guild (PSCG). They replaced several broken ribs and split planks, made new decks and inner and outer stems, stripped the fiberglass, and re-canvased the boat.
“This addition to the museum’s collection allows our mission to continue,” says Mark Wilkins, CMM curator of maritime history. “This model of canoe fosters teamwork, and we are excited about the educational programming opportunities it offers.”