Ogdensburg, St. Lawrence County
St. Lawrence River Punt Builders and Decoy Carvers
In the late 1930s, Walter Hollis needed a boat for fishing in the St. Lawrence River. Since he couldn’t afford to buy one, he searched everywhere to find enough good pine planks to build his own. The result was a simple, flat bottomed workboat, hand made entirely of wood and strong enough to survive years of serious hunting and fishing in the rough water conditions around Ogdensburg. Three generations later, several men of the Hollis family today remain firmly dedicated to the way of life on the St. Lawrence. Walter’s son Jack, Jack’s brother Bill, and Bill’s sons Dick, Chuck, and Bill still build and use ‟Hollis punts,” the same durable boats which they watched Walter make for years. In addition, since they are all dedicated duck hunters, they also have always carved and painted decoys to use in this fall sport. Their decoys, especially those by Dick and Chuck, have received numerous awards in competitions in the US and Canada.
Click here to listen to the TAUNY/NCPR “Meet the Masters” program about the Hollis family.