Black History Month – Message from Dr. Bill Trout:

Dr. William E. Trout, III beside the Monument for Frank Padget beside the James River, Dec. 30th, 2018. Photo by Holt Messerly


Let’s not forget that during the batteau and canal eras in Virginia, African Americans did the hard work. Here’s a link to the Lynchburg Museum’s February post, for Black History Month. Created by museum volunteer Tyler Wilson, it illustrates the three types of Virginia’s river and canal boats –  a freight boat, a small and large packet boat, and a batteau. The post invites readers to let the museum know of old photos and family information about boatmen. We’re eager to know what turns up! You can also click on the site to subscribe to the museum’s posts.

Click here to see the Lynchburg Museum’s February Post.



The canal society is looking for a volunteer to start contacting river groups, museums, and canoe liveries to remind them that we exist, that we’d like more members, and that we have river atlases and books for sale. It’s something that could be done from home. Contact


Back in 1983-1985, volunteers uncovered dozens of wooden batteau bows and sterns in Richmond’s Great Basin, and stored them underwater in Richmond’s Byrd Park Pump House.

This spring VCNS archaeologist Lyle Browning would appreciate the help of volunteers to move these boat parts to tanks in Midlothian where they can be soaked in a preservative and prepared for study. Lyle is at

Also, Friends of Pump House is a very active group working to restore the beautiful Victorian Byrd Park Pump House and the canals there, including George Washington’s Arch. Contact:


We are delighted to announce that the Maritime Heritage Chapter of the Archeological Society of Virginia is just getting organized. Don’t forget that sunken boats are not just in tidewater. Who knows how many batteaux, gundalows, and canal boats are awaiting discovery and study along Virginia’s rivers – our “Whitewater Ocean.” The first meeting will be on February 23 in Richmond. Contact


The Virginia Canals & Navigations Society is proud to announce the publication of Amazing Virginia Canals by Dr. William E. Trout, III. Please see the page on our online store for updates on availability. Estimated Arrival is Mid-March, 2019.

Bill Trout

Dr. William E. Trout, III walking beside the canal wall in front of the Frank Padget Memorial beside the James River, Dec. 30th, 2018. Photo by Holt Messerly