A 1934 Hoopers Island dovetail Dorothy Lee has recently been added to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s floating fleet in St. Michaels, Md. Dorothy Lee was generously donated by Susan Friedel of Trappe, Md., in honor of her late husband Jerry Friedel.
Dovetails, also called draketails, are named for their distinctive round sterns that rake or slope forward from the waterline to the deck; the stern tapers down to the water.Dorothy Lee was built during a time when dovetails were used along the Chesapeake Bay for oyster tonging and trotlining for crabs.
Lovingly restored by Jerry Friedel, Dorothy Lee was originally built by famed boatbuilder Bronza Parks at Bishops Head in Maryland’s Dorchester County. The boat was built for Theodore Woodland, also of Dorchester County, and joins the ranks of other Bronza Parks’ boats in CBMM’s collection, including the recently restored 1955 skipjack Rosie Parks and Martha, another 1934 dovetail.
“Jerry would’ve just been so thrilled. This was always his wish,” Susan Friedel said. “CBMM is such a wonderful place—the boat restoration work, the shipwright apprentice program—it’s all so nice. And it’s great to have the three Bronza Parks boats back together.”
Dorothy Lee measures 41.2 feet long and 8.2 feet in breadth, and was originally equipped with a 35 horsepower marine gasoline engine, which was larger than typical for this type of boat.
“Dorothy Lee’s long, narrow, light displacement hull would have made her a particularly fast workboat,” said CBMM Chief Curator Pete Lesher. “Speed was the allure for watermen who bought Hoopers Island dovetails, with their distinctive racy round sterns that imitated racing motorboats, and the Navy’s torpedo boats from the turn of the century.”
CBMM plans to use Dorothy Lee for outreach and travel, enabling the museum to have a presence in locations beyond St. Michaels.
“This donation is quite remarkable, and we’re delighted to add her to our floating fleet,” said CBMM President Kristen Greenaway. “She is equipped with a modern diesel and has a hard canopy, making her a great candidate in helping to expand our on-the-water educational programs, private rentals, and other uses.”
Dorothy Lee and other floating fleet boats can now be seen along CBMM’s waterfront and the harbor in St. Michaels, Md., and later throughout the region during on-board educational tours and private charters. Maintenance of CBMM’s floating fleet is supported through donations to CBMM’s Annual Fund, with online giving and more information at cbmm.org/donate.
Established in 1965, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is a world-class maritime museum dedicated to preserving and exploring the history, environment, and people of the entire Chesapeake Bay, with the values of relevancy, authenticity, and stewardship guiding its mission. Serving more than 70,000 guests each year, the museum’s campus includes a floating fleet of historic boats and 12 exhibition buildings, situated in a park-like, waterfront setting along the Miles River and St Michaels harbor.