Historic Saranac Lake presents the second installment of its "History Matters" series on Thursday, May 16th at 7 pm at the Woodward Boat Shop. Chris Woodward will lead a talk and demonstration about the history of guideboats and guideboat building.
Adirondack guideboats have been built since the early 1800s. They evolved from a hunting skiff to today's highly refined design, virtually unchanged since the late 1800s. The Adirondack guideboat was originally designed to benefit the professional guides who would need to carry the boat for his paying passengers, who were hunters or fishermen who travelled to the Adirondack region, often from New York City. The guideboats were made exclusively to use as a way to navigate the waterways in the Adirondacks.
The historic Woodward boat shop was built by master boat builder, Willard Hanmer in 1930. Today it continues to serve its original purpose as a guideboat building shop. It is the only surviving guideboat shop of its kind in the Adirondacks.
Carl Hathaway became the second owner of the shop in 1963 and later passed his knowledge about building and repairing guideboats to Chris Woodward. Since the 1990s, Woodward has owned and operated the historic boat shop. Woodward is one of the few boatbuilders in the area that continues to pass along the legacy of guideboats.
Space in the boat shop is limited. Please call Historic Saranac Lake at 801-4606 in order to reserve a spot. The shop is standing room only, so attendees should be prepared to stand for the duration of the talk. The shop is located at 3 Hanmer Avenue in Saranac Lake.