Hatton Ferry

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Hatton Ferry is the last poled ferry in the United States, and As of 2010 is owned and operated by a non-profit group formed for that purpose.[1] A seasonal service, the Hatton Ferry operates on a weekend schedule from April to October.


The cable ferry crosses the James River on Route 625 about 3.5 miles west of Scottsville between Albemarle County and Buckingham County.


James A. Brown began operating a store and ferry at this site in the late 1870s. A few years later, he bought the land and the store became a stop on the Richmond and Allegheny Railroad which was built along the towpath of the James River and Kanawha Canal in the 1880s.

In 1914, James B. Tindall purchased the store, ferry, and ferry rights. He operated the ferry until 1940 when it was taken over by the Virginia Department of Highways.

After Hurricane Agnes destroyed the ferry in 1972, a new ferry was built by VDOT, and it was rededicated in September 1973. A record flood in 1985 sunk the new ferry, and the VDOT replaced it with a metal one launched in June 1986.[2]

2009 threatened closing

Amid budget cuts VDOT planned to close the ferry as part of its 2009 service reductions.[3] The County appropriated $9,300 to keep the ferry running through October 1, 2009,[4] although the funding may be made up from donations to the ACHS.[5]

In November 2006, VDOT established a December 31 deadline for the ferry to be transferred to another entity, otherwise it would be closed.[6] After Albemarle County agreed to temporarily accept ownership of the ferry, but only if a non-profit could be formed to take over its operations.

Community History Series

In 1973, the Jefferson Cable Corporation filmed a brief documentary narrated by Bernard Chamberlain describing the history of the ferry at the James River.


  1. The Hatton Ferry. Web. 21 June 2010. <http://thehattonferry.org/>.
  2. Hatton Ferry website, Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, retrieved 12 Jul 2009.
  3. VDOT FINALIZES SERVICE AREA PROPOSALS, Press release, VDOT, May 20, 2009 retrieved 12 Jul 2009.
  4. Board of Supervisors Approves Hatton Ferry Funding Press release, Albemarle County, July 1, 2009, retrieved 12 July 2009.
  5. Historical Society hit with Hatton tab, Hawes Spencer, The Hook, 12 July 2009.
  6. Web. Hatton Ferry’s future requires a non-profit owner, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, retrieved 16 Nov 2009.


External links