(left) Skipjacks Rosie Parks, Martha Lewis, and Lady Katie under construction, c. 1955. Photographer unknown. Collection of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum,St. Michaels, MD. Gift of Tom Parks. (right) Rosie Parks under sail, c. 1965. Photographer unknown. Collection of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, MD. Gift of Ed Farley.
The celebrated Dorchester County boatbuilder Bronza Parks built Rosie Parks in Wingate, Maryland, side-by-side with two other skipjacks, Martha Lewis and Lady Katie, as part of the last wave of skipjack construction in the decade after World War II. Bronza’s brother, Captain Orville Parks was a waterman who owned Rosie and named her after their mother.
Captain Orville took immense pride in his boat and raced her in the annual skipjack races at Deal Island and Sandy Point, winning more often than any of his rivals. He worked Rosie every year until his health forced him to sell the boat to the Museum in 1975; he died less than a year later.
“I know I can’t quit. I couldn’t lay home with these boats out in the river. When I quit, I’m going to move away from Cambridge so I can’t see the dredge boats.” -Captain Orville Parks, c. 1967.
Built: 1955, Wingate, MD, by Bronza Parks
Length: 51 ft (15.5 m)
Beam: 16 ft, 7 in (5.09 m)
Rosie Parks, skipjack, 1955. Collection of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, MD.
Museum purchase. 1975-53-1.
ROSIE PARKS RESTORATION PROJECT