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The last poled ferry in the nation operated for about 140 years at Scottsville, VA. The re-created flat-bottomed wooden ferry was made from 19th-century materials.
Located at the end of a seemingly dead-ending road just five miles upriver from the cozy riverside town of Scottsville, Virginia—itself a southeastward satellite of Thomas Jefferson’s thriving hometown of Charlottesville—lies one of the nation’s most nostalgic monuments to westward expansion, Hatton Ferry.
Operated by a subsidiary of the Albemarle Historical Society, the attraction is part museum, part living-history exhibit. Perched atop the grassy, picturesque banks of the James River, watching over the long, flat-bottomed wooden ferry boat is a replica of what would have served, once upon a time, as shelter for its attendant. Reconstructed from 19th century materials, the structure houses a variety of image-heavy exhibits detailing the site’s rich historical importance and that of river ferries in general.
Billed as “the last poled ferry in the United States,” Hatton Ferry has for the last 140 years operated continuously, shuttling “mail, produce, farm equipment, goods, [a substantial portion of] horse and vehicular traffic traveling between Buckingham and Albemarle Counties [from 1870 into the early 20th century],” and, at present, up to two automobiles across “America’s River.”
For directions, hours of operation, historical info, and more: