Reedville Marine Railway Preservation. Get Used To It. Hey!

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What will be the new office. The brain trust. Ya, okay thats a stretch. my head hurts already. Today we will focus on this one building.

You want more Bruiser photos?

He is growing like a tall weed. 11 lbs. And LOVES the snow.

Didn’t think so. Sausage? Some. Railway before and afters is what we got in the kitchen, so that’s what we got! Mountains of it. I have a back log of fun Railway stuff to use until it gets warm enough to actually go out on a boat.  So if you need to go look at Bring A Trailer, or look for more boat photos from years ago sitting at Boat Show docks. This would be a good time to go.

A dock, boat, and well. thats it.

Cause all your gonna see here is. Amazing time capsule images of a 1800’s Boat Yard being exposed for the first time in over 100 years! Not that looking at any 100 year old exposed could possibly be sexy. But it is. Oh it is…

Today we are at the old Blacksmith shop, this is the original building to the Railway, 1880 ish. Its been lifted, door changed. But the roof is still doing what it was intened to do.

This was several years ago, with the Riviera upside down. Old drywall on the ceiling and the home of the one toilet on the property.

The same space about 3 weeks ago.

Peeling the onion. Exposing history in the ceiling, and a floor!

Wood, wood and more wood

Finding history. Century Dash. with some very cool gauges. Future wall art

Cleaned up floor and removal of about 1000lbs of old electric motors, transmissions and gas tanks etc.

Jimmy and Wayne starting to get the Riviera ready to be removed


Now yard art.

Open space with a open view to main St

In the ceiling, belt drives! Old wood. History , and a bunch of mud dauber bee hives.

That cleaned up ceiling is amazing – note the shaft that ran belts. AHHHHHHHHHHH! And at the end of it all, burried in the stuff. A DRILL PRESS!

Oh hell too the YA! Early 1900’s belt driven Camel back drill press. This scares the living bejesus out of me. But looks cool. Like that red head girlfriend in high school.

Gotta love google.

And that is about where we have wound up. The plan is simple. We are going to rewire the space, insulate it. And cover the ceiling and walls with Cedar/Juniper out in the yard. We have tons of that. And wide Oak flooring also out in the yard. No paint. Just wood. Drop lights and rugs. Here is a rough comp of the look.

It will have small pin lights to show off the ceiling, vintage gas station lights dropping down. All real, rebuilt no new home depot look alike crap. The concept is the space is 100% authentic, preserved with repurposed materials, and love! We are going through old photos and stories over the decades for wall art. The rug is an original rug btw from the 1920’s and the Boatress hates it, so its waiting for this home.



27 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    That is so cool but if you are doing it all yourself it is a ton of work. Having what you are using for the walls and ceiling on site is also great from a historical standpoint.
    That drill press is amazing. If I am reading it right you can change bit rpm by either pulley size, gear ratio or both. The old timers really knew how to build things. You need to put a pin light on that thing also.
    Looking forward to following the progress.

  2. Matt
    Matt says:

    The Drill press may be moved to the workshop to be with the other belt driven tools. Oh there is more.. Like a belt driven by steam planer! I call it “Stumpy”

    • warren
      warren says:

      This is exactly what I was going to post. An acquaintance that had a lot of old outboards , had cut up an old wooden boat and made some cool furniture out of it. A bar from the transom with a section of the side for the top, a coffee table out of a side section, and an end table from the bow section

  3. Frank@falmouth
    Frank@falmouth says:

    I like the exposed wood open rafters/ceiling… too bad you cant remove the exterior roofing and put insulated foam board down then put the original metal roof back on. Would keep the original look on both exterior and chow off the original roof planks from the inside… throw in one of those Split HVAC systems wiht faux wood paint and it will be once cozy cool (and warm)retro space…

  4. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Do you have a name for the place yet? If not, may I suggest “The Dairy” because you are going to kill that place for every drop she’s worth!

    Also, what’s up with all the “Riviera” mentions lately. In the last 10 years of WoodyBoater I think you have spelled Riviera 8 different ways, but you have never spelled it correctly before. Very suspicious. I think something is going on that you aren’t sharing. Do you have a ghost writer pumping out stories while you are playing with your new toys?

  5. Steve Anderson from Michigan
    Steve Anderson from Michigan says:

    I love the patina of the exterior as well. Any way you can keep that look and still protect it like a fresh coat of paint would?

    I love everything about the place, congrats on acquiring it.

    Also, will you be able to keep the belt drive gear exposed in the ceiling?

  6. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    Va had some really cool old boatyards and railways and it is great to see this particular gem being preserved. George Butler and his family are legends in the boat building and repair world. Reedville marine railway, Deagles Railway, now Chesapeake, Cockrells, Krentz’ , Stanfords, on and on….
    Our friend and early save a boat advocate Bill Bowman has converted Stanford Marine Railway in Colonial Beach. Very cool place. There, when Clarence and his ancestors got new tools, they just pushed the old ones to the wall…still there.
    Carry on! John in Va.

  7. Bones
    Bones says:

    I recently visited a Amish home where they manufactured high end furniture.
    The wood shop had a full 10 ft high basement with the shop upstairs.
    The basement had a good size Diesel engine attached to a belt driven system through out the entire floor of the shop. All the machines/ saws / routers / sanders/ compressor/ generator ran off the belt system.
    It was a engineering marvel !

    • Murdock
      Murdock says:

      Belt drive was about as simple and efficient as it got. One power source, multiple end tool options. Move the lever, belt engaged, the tool ran.
      Our family business, Murdock Mfg and Supply Company, started out in Cincinnati in 1853. It was all belt drive and then got “modernized” when the lathes got converted to Lima drives, still using belts but shorter and with wire cages.
      We have a lot of historic photos at
      What Matt’s doing, is what needs to be done in today’s world. He’s creating another touchstone and link to history.
      And none too soon……….

    • Troy in ANE
      Troy in ANE says:


      Amish / Diesel engine? Is that permitted?

      I would think there would be a horse on a turntable or a belt making that belt drive system go.

      • Bones
        Bones says:

        Yes I suppose. There are all different orders of Amish. This particular family has a store that they supply to the public and the store is lite with Coleman gas lanterns . Different sects call for certain head dress and suspenders. I have seen them pull a small fishing boat trailer behind a horse and buggy. This site will tell you a lot about them.

  8. MO Whaler
    MO Whaler says:

    Thank You for this interesting and exciting week – – Great ‘news’ and plans for the journey and times ahead – – So long to the sausage days – – looks like plenty of bacon delivery in the future – –

  9. Kelly Wittenauer
    Kelly Wittenauer says:

    Very cool! That 1st photo looks like this building has no real foundation – built like a giant “garden shed”? Will codes require you to add one under it, as you renovate? Love the idea to use lumber on-site to conceal insulation. Assuming that overhead it will follow the underside of the roof, so all the cool belt drive gear can remain visible?

    Vintage tools are amazing! A couple years ago, a 80+ year old friend of my father decided it was time to sell his engine building equipment. Age had stolen from him the physical stamina, required to stand at the machines & use them. My husband bought many of the machines – toys to entertain himself in (hopefully) approaching retirement. Photo is moving in the Blockmaster.

  10. Tuobanur
    Tuobanur says:

    Love that old equipment, maybe you can figure out a way to have the old pulley system run a couple old ceiling fans. 🤔

  11. Bilge Rat
    Bilge Rat says:

    I like the idea of converting the Riviera into a nice desk. With only one toilet in the building you could custom install one in one end of the Riviera and call it a head. How convenient is that?

  12. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    Ok, since we have hijacked this post into an old school tool discussion. I know a local blacksmith shop that still uses that exact drill press. See the two opposing tapered gears right on the top of the shaft that turns the bit….a customer using it with a square reamer bit..loced up the bit and stripped many teeth off those gears…the Smithy.. (not our Matt)…welded on new rough teeth…ground them into shape and was back in business that afternoon. I stand in awe…. SHOW THE PLANER….sooo cool. John, iced in in Va.

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