Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fredericktown Ferry. Cable operated Ferry Boat then and now pictures, and a video crossing on the ferry.


  We finally had a very nice non rainy day here in beautiful SWPA, so Danielle, Remy and I decided to take a drive and grab some food somewhere.  As we passed through Fredericktown, PA, we noticed the ferry was crossing the river so we went on down to cross into Fayette county.  For those unfamiliar w/ the Fredericktown ferry, I am told that it is the last operating cable driven ferry on the Monongalia river, and quite possibly, a lot further then that.  A quick glance at Wikipedia shows 25 still operating in the US.  You can see that link here. 

A Video of the crossing is below.

Fredericktown Cable ferry

Bikes Welcome!
One of the last cable driven ferry boats around.

Don't Pay The Ferry Man, Until He Gets You To The Other Side....


     There was a time a few years ago I remember the ferry not operating, and in danger of closing down, but when SCI Fayette (Prison) opened a few years ago, it seemed to breathe new life into this ferry as the only other options to cross are 20 minutes south to Masontown, PA, and 7 miles north at Brownsville.   As the PA turnpike commission builds a new bridge carrying 43 across the river at Denbo, PA, I heard the ferries future might be near yet again, but when I talked to the ferry operator a few months ago, he said they might plan to keep it open.  Lets hope so.  This is a unique item we have here.

     What I have below are a collection of pictures from the 50's, 60's and 70's of the ferry.  These pictures come courtesy of Kathy Brezovsky Kisner of Carmichaels, PA, whose family owned and operated the ferry in this era.

     At the end of the picture series, check out the VIDEO of todays crossing for some more insights into this ferry.  As always, click on the pictures to view larger images.

Dry dock for repairs

Original Fredericktown Ferry

Wooden ferry again

A diver searching for bodies after a car went off the ferry mid ride.

New ferry crossing, the old wooden one rests on the shore.


  1. These are just fabulous pictures! I particularly like the one with the little girl with the long blonde ponytail facing away from the camera. Makes you wonder where she is and how old she is now :)

  2. Well Roadside, that is the woman who gave me the pictures, Kathy. That is her family who owned the ferry back then!

  3. I actually thought that might be a possibility. How cool :)

  4. The festival is June 25th...the website is Maxwellbasin.com It would be great to post your video there or at least get a link to it.

  5. We enjoyed your video. i was looking for pictures of the ferry and came across your site.
    They are having a ferry preservation festival on June 25th. I posted something earlier, but didn't finish all of the instructions, but there will be some good changes coming to fredericktown in the near future.

  6. Thank you, Shirley. I found the site and the FaceBook site and waiting to hear back from them. Thanks for the info. Oh, and btw, today I rode the ferry and updated the blog w/ a few new pictures.

  7. Thanks for your post of the ferry ride. On June 25th,2011 there will be free ferry rides for pedestrians sponsored by Bower Brothers Lounge. Plus a whole array of things to do for all ages all near the ferry entrance. Join us at this year's Ferry Boat Festival starting at 11 AM.

  8. Do you know what year that folks went into the river mid-crossing?

    1. I want to say 1951. I did a google newspaper archive search a few weeks ago, and I remember that story...... I think there was a car chase involved...

    2. I'm unsuccessfully seeking information on the final run of the Ferry. My husband and I want to celebrate our wedding anniversary on this run.
      Please respond by email to chollandnews@yahoo.com.
      See Seeking History in Brownsville (Redstone), Pennsylvania and A Stained Glass Window in Brownsville, Pennsylvania on my website.

  9. Melissa, I am very interested in being there with some friends. It's an hour and a half drive for us, but it is our anniversary and we thought it would be a way to celebrate---bring cake, etc. Could you email me at chollandnews@yahoo.com.
    By the way, I've been trying since May to get the info needed to celebrate our anniversary this way. I am a writer and would hope to blog the event on my blog site. Am writing a historical romance novel, but unfortunately it includes Redstone (Brownsville), somewhat north of Fredericktown.
    Carolyn Cornell Holland

  10. Very nice video, pic and blog information about Boat. Thanks for sharing.