Charles F. Mercer Packet Boat is a replica double-decker packet boat with an aluminum hull and wooden superstructure of Port Orford cedar, grown in the town of Port Orford, Oregon. The color scheme of the new boat is based on a painting from the mid-1830s found by Park Ranger Rod Sauter. The upper deck is open with benches, railings, and a structure to hold a canopy. Power is provided by two mules. The boat is handicapped accessible plus having a sound system that makes it possible for visitors with hearing aids to hear the ranger more clearly.
The American Canal Society’s Certificate of Authenticity recognizing the packet boat Charles F. Mercer was given to the C&O Canal National Historical Park on May 27, 2012. The Certificate was created in 2006 to recognize and encourage historical accuracy in boats operating in canal parks.
In 2006, the association donated $50,000 towards the purchase.
The above-noted donation was a portion of the $100,000 Widewater Challenge Grant issued by John and Carol Kimbrough through their Foundation of the Carolinas. When the park service’s budget included Widewater rehabilitation funds, the Kimbroughs, members of the association, permitted us to apply the grant to other association projects.
Some newsletter entries about the Charles F. Mercer:
(Updated July 2018.)