Flatboat under construction on Mon River

Morgantown History MuseumMORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A weekend project will be part of a living history display on the Monongahela River. An idea generated from within the Morgantown History Museum sparked fundraising for the construction of an historic flatboat.

“It was created in 2012. So, we’ve come a long way. To get it actually started for us is really exciting,” shared Chelsea Elliot, a student worker with the museum.

There is a project and master carpenter for the construction, but volunteers will continue to be needed.

“Their using the hand tools, so it’s going to take a while. The plan is hopefully to have build days every Saturday or Sunday throughout the summer,” explained Elliot.

The 1820’s replica flatboat will be built near the spot where Morgantown entrepreneur Michael Kerns built boats 250 years ago.

“The boats are quite large. They’re 10 to 12 feet wide and 24 to 32 feet long,” Elliot said.

In the 1800’s, a flatboat construction would’ve cost about 75 dollars. Farmers could transport up to $3,000 worth of goods, including livestock and grains, downstream to be traded.

Workers started construction of the Morgantown replica Saturday, June 20 near Hazel Ruby McQuain Park where Decker’s Creek flows into the Monongahela River.

“Ideally it will stay on the river as a permanent exhibit. We’re hoping it will be an educational and community event and make it a permanent part of Morgantown,” Elliot Anticipated.

Donors, sponsors and volunteers can learn more at www.morgantownhistorymuseum.org.