Chippewa County Historical Society




Dean Dainsberg, retired curator of the Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum, explains the design features in the Chippewa River canoe.
Mr. Dainsberg also talks about how early boat builders learned how to shape the design of a boat.

The Design of the Chippewa River Canoe

The bow of the Chippewa River Dugout Canoe

While the Chippewa and Minnesota River canoes are both dugout canoes, there are significant differences in design.

The Minnesota River canoe has a thinner hull and is a classic canoe design.

The hull of the Chippewa River canoe is thicker and the design is more like a row boat.

In the Chippewa River canoe, the bow comes to a point, from there the canoe tapers down to a flat section in the middle of the canoe.

The front bow section of the canoe is slightly higher than the middle section. This allows the canoe to cut through the water and directs the water to the smooth bottom surface, which allows the canoe to glide through the water.

The shape of the stern of the canoe is designed to reduce drag and keep the canoe going straight.

This combination of design features makes the Chippewa River Canoe unique among dugout canoes.

A more modern example of the Chippewa River canoe's design is found in the Lady of the Lakes Rowboat built by the Alexandria Boat works in the late 1800s. The Lady of the Lakes rowboat was known for its ease of rowing and excellent handling in the water. This boat is currently on display in the Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum in Alexandria, Minnesota.

Dugout Canoes