Photo credit: M.C. Wootton , 05/1984

Property Name: ISLAND LARK (log canoe)
Date Listed: 9/18/1985
Inventory No.: T-504
Location: Carpenter Street, St. Michaels, Talbot County

Description: ISLAND LARK is a 34'-11" sailing log canoe with a racing rig. She has a beam of 6'-9 1/8". She is double-ended with a sharp, raking stem, longhead bow, and sharp stern. Log-built with carvel-fitted rising planks, the canoe has a sleek appearance. Her hull, painted white, has been fiberglassed. Privately owned the canoe is raced on the Eastern Shore under No. 16. ISLAND LARK has typical Tilghman-style log construction, with carvel-fitted rising planks. Her bow is sharp, with a straight, raking stem and a clipper longhead. The stern is sharp with a rudder hung outboard and a tiller led through the bumpkin. The canoe has a centerboard fitted through the bottom log. The long, straight, square-off bowsprit is set up with heavy standing rigging--a bobstay and four bowsprit shrouds, adjustable by means of a chainplate set into the sheer rail. The rig consists of two masts with adjustable rake, set into square steps in thwarts fore and aft. The foremast and mainmast are unstayed. Sails are a mainsail, foresail, and jib. The main and foresails have clubs and sprits, and there are extra light sails for racing depending on conditions. Also for racing the canoe is equipped with a narrow, wishbone-shaped bumpkin with a backrest which hangs over the stern and is painted white, and varnished springboards for balance. There are narrow, strip-planked varnished washboards forming a peapod-shaped cockpit, lined with a low coaming, and cleat railings on the washboards. The hull is finished with fiberglass and is painted white with brown bottom paint. The washboards, bowsprit, and rubrail are varnished bright. Trailboards mounted on the longhead have carved and gilded letters, ISLAND LARK, on a dark green background, decorated with scrolls and two small fields of the black-and-yellow checks and red-and-white shield of the Maryland state flag.

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. ISLAND LARK is significant as being one of the older boats in the racing log canoe fleet but little is known of her early history except for the fact that she was built in 1901. She was restored by John Chamberlin in 1971, one of a group of 4 vessels restored in the years 1966 to 1971 (the others being ROVER, PERSISTENCE, and S.C. DOBSON) during a mini-revival of interest in log canoe racing. The restoration of ISLAND LARK inspired Chamberlin to build his own canoe--TENACEOUS--in the late 1960s.




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