James River & Kanawha Canal

Rediscovering Theodore Haxall’s model boats

In the Fall of 2021 I contacted Christian Crouch of the Lynchburg Museum system about the VCNS participating in the Point of Honor Event called Day at the Point. It turned out the 2021 event was cancelled, but during that phone conversation, Christian asked if Dr. Trout and I would be interested in helping evaluate some canal boat models that were donated to the museum system.

On February 2, 2022, Dr. Trout and I met with Christian and Emily Kubota at the Lynchburg Museum and we unboxed and unwrapped the models in question, only to discover they were models by Theodore Haxall that had been donated to the Valentine Museum in Richmond. Apparently, the Valentine museum recently donated them to Lynchburg, possibly because the Lynchburg museum has permanent displays about the James River and Kanawha Canal and they would make a great addition to their collection.

The models were made in the 1960’s and 1970’s from pictures. There are quite a few models (between 15 and 20) and they are various types of canal boats, mainly focusing on packet boats (passenger boats). Theodore Haxall was a gifted artist, and I would definitely consider the models to be artwork as they show an incredible amount of detail. They are not currently on display, although we hope they will be in the not-too-distant future.

Dr. Trout holding one of the models