Old Town 25-foot Camp Canoe Relaunched

The newly refurbished Old Town Camp Canoe relaunched 58 years after the original launch in 1960

SOLOMONS, MD – October 18, 2018 – The vintage 25-foot Old Town Camp Canoe was relaunched on Tuesday at the Calvert Marine Museum (CMM) after spending many years in storage. Patuxent Small Craft Guild (PSCG) volunteers have been restoring this beauty for the past eight months.

Built in Maine in 1960, this classic canvas canoe was used for years at YMCA summer camps in Calvert County. The canoe first hit the water at Camp Druid Hill on the Patuxent River near Huntingtown, Maryland. Camp Druid Hill was a residential summer camp for African American youths from Baltimore and is now King’s Landing Park. These large canoes, sometimes referred to as war canoes, were very popular at summer camps and 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.

Old Town Camp Canoe is paddling once again on the waters of the Patuxent. Photo courtesy Augie Selckmann.

When the camp closed, the wooden boat was retired. In the late 1970’s, Augie Selckmann, Calvert County resident and avid canoe paddler, picked up the canoe at an auction for a mere $25. He covered it with fiberglass and it was later sold to George Surgent, the museum’s Boatwright. The PSCG volunteers have 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. This model fosters teamwork and we are excited about the educational programming opportunities it offers,” said Mark Wilkins, Curator of Maritime History. 

Old Town Camp Canoe – pictured left to right is Ed Kobrinski, Al Rondina, Ray Brule, George Surgent, Bill Wright, Tony Pettit, and Brian Forsyth. Photo courtesy Augie Selckmann

See the Patuxent Small Craft Guild members at work on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. in the Patuxent Small Craft Center. For more information about the canoe, contact George Surgent at gsurgent@comcast.net.

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