Durham Boat Replica

Durham Historical Society purchased the Durham boat replica, on permanent display in Durham Village Green, from the Washington Crossing Foundation in 1997. It was one of the original four boats they used in crossing reenactments. A plate in the boat states it was built in 1975 by Johnson Brothers boat works.

The DHS paid $8,000 to the Foundation for the boat including free “shipping.”  In early 1999, then-DHS President Lynn Gaun wrote in the newsletter, We were also blessed with the gift of a second boat donated to us by the Washington Crossing Foundation. In turn, we sold it to defray the costs of the first boat. Our next big project is to build a pavilion to house our boat from the elements. In late 1999 a group of town volunteers led by carpenter George Mason built the pavilion and cradle that house the boat to this day. In summer 2003 the replica boat was refurbished with a $6000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. 

The replica now displayed in Durham was used for a re-enactment of Washington’s Crossing in President George H.W. Bush’s 1989 inaugural parade.

The replica boat, considered from information available, is a faithful, scaled-down reproduction. She measures: overall length 39 ft., width 7 ft. 3 in., depth 3 ft. 6 in., sweep length 24 ft. 6in., oars 16 ft., setting poles 14 ft. Historical Durham boats were commonly 60 ft. in length and 10 ft. wide.

See here for more on the Durham boat’s history.

Washington's Crossing reenactment using a Durham boat replica. Photo by Mike Chipowsky, used by permission.