Old Photos Of The New HQ. Reedville Marine Railway

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Mid 1950’s. Thats the office now up to the right. It was lower and had a blacksmith shop off of it. This is a Skipjack being worked on.

One of the joys of this project is finding history and preserving it, as well as treat it with respect and frame it as art. It’s a fine line, of cleaning up, while keeping the haphazardness that time evolves into a patina of harmony. And now, I have some old photos from the Butler family that tell an even deeper story.

Detail of the small workshop, blacksmith shop.

Skipjack repair mid 1950’s

1930’s right up on the rail near the office. The house on the other side is still there. Owned by Texaco, or then Texas Oil Company

1924 Blueprint plan

Todays header is 1930’s, note the Woolsy’s Varnish sign.

This place was rocking! Cranking out boats, repairing them, and making maritime history. And of course I get to share them with you and will frame some of these to be displayed in the office and around the workshop.

This is before the newer building. LOVE THE RAMP!  SKIFFS!

In the 1970’s Note the old office to the left. Before George lifted and saved it.

Late 80’s early 90’s?

90’s new building going up. Note the gantry, we are bringing that back. Also the Texaco Oil next door. And yes, a boat in need!

About to float the New Railway out. The amount of Work George did to keep the Railway going is awe inspiring. This place has never stopped being what it is. A continuum of timeless quality. And that is perfection.

I always wondered how this would have been done. Note Pop’s Matthews Martinique in the background

New boat! , the now office is in background. Pre new addition. That Green door is now part of the parts room.

Old sign and some stuff. Lots of stuff. And that dam leaning power pole. The leaning power pole of Reedville. I am going underground soon.

The Janet O. One of my favorites here. Just finished here on the Railway And later we are going to feature some of the amazing boats built here. Butler Built boats are a very well respected craft here on the bay. All built by eye. AHHHHHHHHH! I love it!  BTW, the Janet O. is still around and looks cool as hell. Like a Chop top hot rod deadrise.

19 replies
  1. Rick
    Rick says:

    These pics are awesome. Always figured they built a cofferdam to build the railways. Never imagined they could be floated out like that. Still learning new stuff all the time. Keep it coming.

  2. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    I love seeing historic pictures like this! Especially when there are several over many decades. VERY COOL!

    At least two pictures have sunken boats in them. Was this some sort of their process, or just simply derelict boats in the yard?

  3. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Wow, what great pictures and history. Clearly the photos need to be preserved and displayed.
    That “boat in need” appears to have been that way for a while. Can’t help but wonder why they didn’t get it out of there. The leaning power pole really fits into the landscape. Are you really going to remove it?
    Seriously, it is easy to understand your excitement about what you are doing. That place is a historical gem!

  4. Matt
    Matt says:

    The leaning Pole is kinda dangerous, since it forces the wires to be low, and also I want to put in a deck right were it is. It does fit however and I didnt realize it had been a part of the place. So?

  5. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    After yesterday’s story about using old cameras to make fake images, I have to wonder if these pictures are really old like Matt claims, or did he take them yesterday? 😀

  6. Syd
    Syd says:

    It could have been a hull that someone found floating around and it was hauled in to keep someone from hitting it

  7. John F Rothert
    John F Rothert says:

    Really great pix….show more! Vintage pix are my favorites…if you look at them next week you will notice something neat you missed in the first go round….

    John in Va.

  8. BT
    BT says:

    If you love the leaning pole, you could keep it without the wires attached. Maybe build the new deck with the pole part of the table or railing or ??

  9. Ross
    Ross says:

    is there any chance the fisherman’s museum would have plans for the “new boat” in the seventh color photo? I want one of those

  10. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    You’re too OCD to keep that pole (and so am I). But I realize its “part of the charm” of the old place, but its just utility and underground wiring is the way to go. So I’m assuming the new or replacement underwater rail system will sit on the seabed but will have to be sunk by releasing the floatation barrels. Then after sinking to the seabed, drug into line with the upper rail system with lines tied off either side and pulled into position? Fascinating process.

  11. Paul Harvey?
    Paul Harvey? says:

    The boat in need in the 90’s photo, a 1956 Chris Craft 25′ express cruiser came from the factory with a 175 hp MCL. The owners small kids were growing up and wanted more performance for water sports than the old flathead could provide. So Pops asked Van Ness to take care off the problem and dropped off the boat along with a blank check. The next summer they put the repowered boat in the water for a day of water skiing. When junior said “HIT IT” pops gunned the throttle and the boat shot off like a rocket. The throttle stuck at full throttle. Juniors skiis flew off and he was barefooting. Pops toupee was the next to go and blew off his head flew past the transom and stuck over junior’s eyes. Next the deck planking blew off in one piece taking the windshield with it and it landed behind the boat. Blinded barefooting junior slid up onto the deck and was now wakeboarding on the deck planking. The boat was now going so fast that the canvas, paint, and varnish was peeling off the boat then the hull planking started to come off right down to the Chine plank where it stopped because the boat had an indestructible Danenburg 5200 bottom. Mom exasperated that the bologne sandwiches had blown away took a swing at pops with a cast iron skillet, missed him but hit the throttle lever killing the engine. The boat coasted into the Reedville Railway and sunk at the dock. Because it had a 5200 bottom it determined to be salvageable. The family had tons of money to pay for the restoration from their new wakeboard invention. “And that’s the rest of the story”.

  12. Mike D
    Mike D says:

    Any information on the neighboring petroleum wharfs?

    My vote is to bury the power line, unless you can certify that the pole was installed with that lean. Let’s keep it originally original.

  13. David Hughes
    David Hughes says:

    When you have a realing big railway line to tow and sink in the water…note the size of the air tanks on top of the tube section!😮

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