The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) in St. Michaels, MD is looking for help in sourcing twelve, 52’ southern yellow pine logs that are 3-4’ in diameter. The logs are needed to begin replacing the bugeye Edna E. Lockwood’s nine-log bottom.
Launched October 5, 1889 in Tilghman Island, the Edna E. Lockwood is an example of a Chesapeake Bay nine-log bugeye. John B. Harrison was commissioned to build the boat, which joined the hundreds of oyster dredgers on the Chesapeake for 78 years. She holds the legacy as the last of her kind to dredge oysters on the bay.
“Log construction was a hallmark of Chesapeake boatbuilders,” commented CBMM Chief Curator Pete Lesher. “They would flatten the sides of the logs and join seven, nine, or even eleven logs side-by-side and hew them to shape with axe and adze. The entire bottom of the boats—the bugeyes—were fashioned from solid chunks of wood in this manner. The largest and longest log was used for the center, and the hulls were sharp at both ends—like an oversize canoe. Simple locust treenails or iron drifts fastened one log to the next. Edna E. Lockwood is typical of this classic regional method of boat construction. While they were able to source this materially locally in the nineteenth century, we need to search much more widely to find such large trees.”
“Sourcing these logs has been a challenging task,” said CBMM Vessel Maintenance Manager Michael Gorman, who late last year distributed fliers outlining the museum’s need to sawmills throughout the region. “Loblolly pine is the local variety of southern yellow pine that was the prevalent boatbuilding material on the Chesapeake. We may have to look a little more widely to find the right logs.”
After her life on the bay and following a brief career as a pleasure boat, the Edna E. Lockwood was donated to CBMM in 1973 by Jack Kimberly. In 1994, she was declared a National Historic Landmark. Restoration of the Edna began in 1995, when she was stripped down to her nine logs and reconstructed from the bottom up.
Though the life expectancy of a Chesapeake workboat at the time of her construction was only twenty years, the Edna E. Lockwood has seen six times that many years since. Today, the 125-year old Edna E. Lockwood remains the centerpiece of CBMM’s historic floating fleet, believed to be the only historic log-bottomed bugeye still sailing.