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909 South Schumaker Drive
Salisbury, MD 21804
410.742.4988

Museum Hours

Mon - Sat: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sun: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Christopher Columbus Smith (1858-1937) Algonac, HI  

Chris Smith was known for his boat building long before he was recognized as a carver of decoys. Chris and his older brother Henry were both market hunters as young men and made their own decoys and boats out of necessity. The popular Chris¬Craft and Miss America boats that triumphed in the Gold Cup Races held on the Detroit River are products of the company that bear Chris Smith's name (Kangas, Survey 178).

For their lures, Chris and Henry got wood from ships passing Algonac; the ships' captains would piCk out usable logs and throw them overboard for the brothers. As hunters, the Smiths understood the need for light decoys that could be packed in large quantities in a tiny boat. They carved small decoys with hollow bodies. The decoys have long slender necks and chests that are narrow in comparison to the rest of the bodily proportions. The decoys display a variety of positions that portray both content and alert attitudes. Neither brother adorned his decoys with surface carving on the body or detailed carving on the bills with the exception of canvasbacks. Between the two of them, the brothers produced as many as a thousand decoys. Some of these decoys have a lead keel with "C.C. Smith" stamped on them to clearly identify decoys by Chris. For the great amount of decoys the men produced, they limited themselves to black ducks, scaup, canvasbacks, pintails, redheads and whistlers, the primary species hunted in the area.