The Marco Island Historical Society (MIHS) announces that a “living exhibit” showcasing the on-site conservation of a unique, hand-crafted 1940s wooden skiff is extended until May at the Marco Island Historical Museum (MIHM) . Every Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., museum visitors can see master boatbuilder Roger Johnson and Ron Rutledge, donating their time to the project, as they work on what we have. called the masterpiece of its builder Eugene Paul. Teach. The skiff can also be seen during museum opening hours.
The conservation of the single scull is sponsored by donors Vicki and Neil Bretthauer who have made a contribution of $ 20,000 to fund the project which will ultimately become a permanent exhibit at MIHM. “The single scull is an important part of the Marco Island Historical Society‘s plans for a redesigned museum lobby,” notes MIHS Executive Director Pat Rutledge. “We are very grateful to the Bretthauer for this generous inaugural donation to these plans. The museum lobby provides an important first opportunity for our visitors to begin to take an interest in the rich history of Marco Island and sets the tone for everything they will see and experience inside.
Until its acquisition by MIHS in January, the small skiff resided at the Museum of Florida History (MFH) in Tallahassee. Collections curator Austin Bell personally brought the skiff back to Marco Island. “This little boat is part of the history of Marco Island and it has its place here. We are grateful to the staff at MFH who made this possible, ”says Bell.
Teachout was a printer and World War I veteran who became a recluse and lived near Goodland, Florida on a mudflat surrounded by mangrove trees. He used the 11-foot skiff – probably built using cypress, mahogany, and red mangrove – for over 30 years for transportation and fishing in the remote islands around Marco Island. He designed and built the small boat using almost primitive tools, possibly from the 18th century. Instead of using nails to hold the craft together, Teachout painstakingly cut the ties to the wooden stakes on the boat one at a time. The boat has a small livewell to store bait and an ingenious folding seat that allows the operator to row facing forward. A bulbous midsection adds to its stability and provides the flotation support needed for such a small boat.
Teachout was discovered and befriended by Bud Kirk and his wife Kappy of Goodland. Known to help those in need, the Kirks invited the shy hermit to live in a crab shack where Kirk made crab traps. Teachout lived in the crab shack until his death in 1968. According to Kirk’s early comments, the silent craftsman was wonderful with wood and often did carpentry work around the small village of Goodland, but he described his boat as his masterpiece. The fascinating story of the single scull now continues at MIHM where the story of Eugene Paul Teachout, a recluse and craftsman who lived alone in the backwaters of Marco Island, will continue to be told for generations to come.
The Marco Island Historical Museum is located at 180 S. Heathwood Drive. The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Entrance is free and the site is accessible to people with reduced mobility. Face covers are required for entry, and social distancing and sanitizing practices are followed. For general information, visit www.themihs.org or call (239) 389 6447.