The Foggy River is a deadrise (v-bottom with cross planking) open boat with a small cabin forward – typical to some degree of the type still seen today. She has a distinctly graceful sheer (the upward curve of the deck from stern to bow), an unusually pronounced but attractive flare to her sides near the bow, and a round stern. These characteristics were common in the mid-20th century and, except for the round stern, precursors of later designs. This design permitted the boat to lie stern to the sea more comfortably while working than a square or box stern boat, but this construction became too complex and expensive in later years.
The Foggy River is very much a Reedville product. Her design was a collaborative effort between two local residents, her owner Charles Bowles, and her builder, George Butler, the second of the three generations of the family to own and operate the Reedville Marine Railway. As was and is the custom at the shop, there were no formal design on paper, just discussions prior to and during the construction as the boat took shape.
The wood for the project was cut locally from timberland owned by the Lillian Lumber Company, which in turn sawed the logs to Mr. Butler’s specifications. The boards were then stacked to dry in a shed on Cockrell Creek. The Foggy River was used by Captain Bowles for a number of decades until he retired. Captain Benny Verlander later discovered her lying unused near the Corrotoman River. When her engine finally failed, he donated the boat to the Museum.
The Foggy River was restored to become a floating classroom, exhibiting the different equipment and rigging used in pound net fishing, crab dredging, oystering, and crab potting. Thanks to a generous donation in 2014 from the United States Federation of Friends of Museums, and hard work by museum volunteers, this project opened to the public in 2015
In the spring of 2021 the Foggy River will become a land exhibit featuring exhibit panels describing her life on the water. Interested in helping the Boat Shop crew scrape, paint and repair this grand lady? Please contact the Museum at 804-453-6529 for information. We will begin work on her at her new location (front lawn of Museum) in later spring.