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

Property Name: SILVER HEEL (log canoe)
Date Listed: 9/18/1985
Inventory No.: K-542
Location: Quaker Neck Landing Road (MD 661), Old Town, Kent County

Description: SILVER HEEL is a 33'-11 3/4" sailing log canoe in the racing fleet. She has a beam of 7'-3/4". She has a clipper bow, with the longhead braced to serve as a bowsprit, and a straight, raking stern. The canoe is privately owned and races in Eastern Shore competition under No. 2. Her hull is finished the traditional white, with varnished trim on the washboards. The canoe is log-built in typical Tilghman fashion with carvel-fitted rising planks. Sawn hanging knees support the wide strip-planked washboards. The canoe has a straight, raking stem, with a longhead that is braced with wooden lying races to serve as a bowsprit. Double-ended, her stern is sharp and raking, with a rudder mounted on pintles on the sternpost. An outrigger, or bumpkin, overhangs the stern. The bow has small splashboards. A centerboard is cased in a trunk on the log bottom. The rig includes two masts with adjustable rake. The foremast is set into mast partners in the foredeck, which is squared at its after end. The mainmast is set into mast partners mounted in a thwart. The sails comprise a Tilghman racing rig--foresail and mainsail with clubs at the clew and sprits, and a large jib. The jib is clubbed along the foot and led out along the longhead.

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. SILVER HEEL is significant as being one of the older canoes in the racing fleet and for having been one of the few canoes built in Kent County, on Kent Island in 1902 by Eugene Thompson for John Wesley Dickinson. The canoe has been continuously owned in Kent County.




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