Roanoke River Paddle Trail
Shad Boat Restoration Project
Did you know the shad boat was designated the Official State Boat of North Carolina in 1987? Shad boats were our local work boats, as essential as pickup trucks are today.
The shad boat, developed on Roanoke Island, is known for its versatility and maneuverability. Its name comes from the type of fish it was used to catch.
The museum has in its collection this 1904 Albemarle Sound shad boat built by Alvirah Wright in 1904. The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources has awarded the Museum of the Albemarle $5,000 as seed money to begin its restoration which could cost in excerss of $25,000. Wayne Matthews is the project coordinator for the museum.|
History of the Alvirah Wright Shad Boat
The boat was built in 1904 by Alvirah Wright (1869-1951), a noted decoy carver, logger and boat builder on the banks of the Arenuse Creek in Camden County. The boat was originally built as a sailboat but was converted to gasoline power about 1912. In the 1970s an attempt was made to restore the boat to sail when its outer hull was covered in fiberglass. For the next twenty years the boat was neglected and fell into disrepair. In 1994 Wright's daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Wright, donated it to the museum.
The restoration project is designed to revive interest in the boat building heritage of the Albemarle region and to prepare an authentic watercraft for the museum's collection. The shad boat will be exhibited in the lobby entrance of the Museum of the Albemarle's future home in downtown Elizabeth City.
Enno Reckendorf, retired director ofthe Norfolk School of Boat Building, serves as the project director. Trained volunteers will do the supervised restoration. Businesses and individuals can contribute through tax deductible donations of money and materials.
The Museum of the Albemarle
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