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My Morris Model A project.

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by RMR, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. RMR

    RMR Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Okay, please forgive me if I screw up my first post.
    I have in my possession a 1915 B.N. Morris, Model A, 17', open mahogany gunwales, #12286. It was a 'front yard purchase' back around 1997 in St. Paul, MN., for around $250.00.
    It's history: Purchased from Morris and used as a 'livery canoe' - by the City of St. Paul - and they likely purchased more than just one, as mine was used at Lake Como, a lake that is part of the St. Paul Parks, there is a 'city' tag right in front of the Morris serial tag,,,,,of course it probably found it's way around other lakes/waterways as well. I'm hoping to be able to gather more info on the Morris order from the City of St. Paul. The canoe was stored in a garage for an unknown number of years, when the fellow I purchased it from came across it, to find the canvas falling off but the wood-work basically intact.
    He then proceeded to pull off the canvas, keel, etc. and put a really basic, single layer of 'glass over it. I've used it a few times and I'm quite impressd with it; even with the glass. My canoeing experience before this has been in 'tin and synthetic canoes', but they don't feel anything like this.
    So, I scrubbed it out a few weeks ago with a mild soap, rinsed, dried, and now is in our dry basement where I have begun the process of educating myself about Morris by reading and enjoying much info here (thank you all) and speaking with restorationists around the country who have kindly answered my many questions.
    Okay, I posted some pictures under RMR here on the Forum - please look and let me know any comments. Too, today, I examined the keel, and though it is basically bare, I carefully examined the few small patches of paint to find that it was originally Red, followed by Green, followed by a light Blue.
    Okay that's enough for now. Thanks for having an awesome site.
     
  2. Gasping

    Gasping Curious about Wooden Canoes

    WOW! Your Morris is in a lot better shape than the Morris we just found! Good for you!
     
  3. OP
    OP
    RMR

    RMR Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I forgot to mention that after purchasing it, ('97) I went to the Chicagoland Canoe Base. Ralph Frese examined it and told me what I had, I had been there before so I knew of his knowledge. He proceeded to give me a basic education and run-down as to removing the 'glass, etc., I knew then, and even more now, that I was indeed, very lucky. Ralph has passed on now and his shop is closing but it was great to have his 'smiling approval'.
    I know that I have a way to go, and with a solid timed effort, it won't be more than a year or so.... makes me wish I was further 'up-north' where the active knowledge base is alive and well. I already have the desire to pursue a 'solo' trip around the Aulneau Peninsula on Lake of the Woods, although the opinions of the Model A as tripping canoe are or seem guarded, we'll see.... first things first.
     
  4. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Where in Illinois are you? There are a handful of us here in the flatlands...
     
  5. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    I can't find the pictures... am eager to see your canoe!

    If you find out any information from the City of St. Paul please share... it could help with our Morris research, especially if they can provide the date that canoes were shipped from the factory.

    Thanks!
    Kathy
     
  6. OP
    OP
    RMR

    RMR Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Kathryn,

    As to the pictures, if you go to my 'personal info' page (click on RMR on my post) then I'm pretty sure you should be able to find the images on the left hand side; I'll try and post them here - but there seems to be a glitch on my computer that has me 'jumping through hoops' to post.....
    I plan on sharing whatever info I can find from St. Paul - and I'm hoping they have a good historian on staff....
     
  7. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Found your pictures-- the canoe looks great... c.1915 with the serial number plate placed by the mystery-worker who made his mark that way (orienting the plate with the short end parallel to the splay of the stem). Open gunwales are less common; they can make restoration less of a pain. I think you got a very good deal and should love this canoe. Makes me wonder if there are more Como canoes out there.

    Kathy
     
  8. OP
    OP
    RMR

    RMR Curious about Wooden Canoes

    IMG_2583.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  9. OP
    OP
    RMR

    RMR Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Good, and for anyone else who wants to see them (I'm still learning how to post images) click my name/initials - RMR, then on the left hand side of my personal page, you'll see 'Albums' click on that and bingo!!! You'll see the pic's.
    I definitely am hoping to find more info - it seems like a pretty safe bet that St. Paul ordered more than one Morris for the City Parks Livery.... At least there should be images available.
     
  10. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    I'm looking through images on the MN History Center website. Some canoes on Lake Phalen appear Morris to me. Not sure if these are privately owned or livery though.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    RMR

    RMR Curious about Wooden Canoes

    FontSize



    Ah, the internet!!!
    Yes, I just found them. One image from 1925 shows the Lake Phalen Canoe Rack with 35 or so and another 7 on the water. The older the image, the better the chance that many would be Morris even though it's just as easy to assume the City purchased from other companies as well. Either way, it's pretty impressive to see all of those wood/canvas canoes in one spot!!!
    Hopefully, the City will have copies of purchase records from the Morris time period.
     
  12. MackyM

    MackyM LOVES Wooden Canoes

    RMR,

    Your Morris looks to be in really good shape. Great find!!! MackyM
     
  13. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Libraries and Museums hold a lot of information, much of it on-line. New stuff is added all the time. I re-run searches periodically and am amazed at what comes up that wasn't there the week before. Some materials are only available in-person but can be requested on-line, and then it's waiting for you when you arrive at the place. When I lived in Minneapolis, I spent a lot of time on the top floor of the downtown library, where they kept the Minneapolis History Collection. Maybe the St. Paul library has a similar thing-- and maybe it would hold more information specifically on the parks (if the park board itself doesn't have an archive) than the history center would.
     
  14. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    "I'm looking through images on the MN History Center website."

    "Ah, the internet!!! Yes, I just found them."

    Perhaps you could post the URL so we could see just what you have found.
    I had no luck after poking around the MN History Center site.
     
  15. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    One of my old postcards shows lots of canoes on racks at Phalen Park as shown below.

    Benson
     

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  16. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

  17. OP
    OP
    RMR

    RMR Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Yes, I didn't want to infringe on any copy right guidelines, but posting the site is fine.... I just searched St. Paul Parks Canoes. The site itself seems to list them under 'sports, canoes' - Nice work Kathryn....
     
  18. OP
    OP
    RMR

    RMR Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Nice image!!! It's just mind-boggling to me that so many canoes would be in a Livery or stored in one place, then to think so many actually used them - pepole were living pretty 'large' back then !!!
     
  19. OP
    OP
    RMR

    RMR Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Just spoke with the Minneosta Historical Society Library and they gave, or have a couple 'leads' in their data-base; all of which can only be searched on-site as most of the possible leads are not available in digitized form (online) and they also have one that is of 'high value', meaning the St. Paul Board of Parks Commission meeting minutes that cover most of the early teens if not all of the years that Morris was in business.
    That would also include any other companies they may have purchased canoes from. I was told that the minutes appear to be 'indexed' with topics, business, etc. So, that may be the best chance of finding out just when and how many canoes were purchased. The plot thickens.... someone has to search in person, I guess it's whoever does it first???
     
  20. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Very nice work on your part! This sounds very promising. I live eight hours away and have a car I don't trust for such a journey until the brakes are looked at... how close are you, RMR?
     

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