Monday, September 28, 2015

Historic Paddle Photo - c1887 Canoe Paddle - Riverside, Mass

An Ebay seller claims to have a silver gelatin original photograph dated to 1887 which features a couple in an elegant canoe. To my eyes it looks to be a very old birchbark canoe since some pitched gores are just visible in the grainy zoomed picture.

Silver Gelatin Original
Riverside, MA c June 19th, 1887
This is an exceptional photograph from the late 1800's
Family of wealthy Bostonian society figure, Mr. Larry Vinton Long, a banker and broker, member of the stock exchange, and curator for museums.

The gentleman in the rear looks to be using a graceful paddle with an elongated grip...

Another photo dated to same time and place is a group shot of paddlers. The seller describes it as "Visiting Neighbors by canoe, Riverside, MA c.1887"

 Silver Gelatin Original
Riverside, MA
c June 19th, 1887

The closeup shot reveals some lovely elegant paddles as well as fancy paddling clothes for the ladies...

Paddle Closeups

If I'm not mistaken, Riverside Massachusetts is near the famed Charles River, where a thriving canoe building industry once existed. has a nice little booklet entitled online entitled  Souvenir of the Charles River (1904). While published much later than this purported photo, it shows just how popular recreational canoeing was at the turn of the 20th century. Lots of great vintage photos and ads of early canoe builders as well.

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