St. Louis Meramec Canoe Company

St. Louis Meramec (Meraco) "arrowhead" deck.

The St. Louis Meramec Canoe Company (Meraco) was founded by Alfred Wickett in the early 1922. Wickett had previously worked for the Old Town Canoe Company from ca.1900 to 1914, and he had founded the Penobscot Canoe Company (Pecaco) in 1915.

In 1930, the name of the company was changed to St. Louis Boat and Canoe Company. The company ceases to manufacture canoes in 1978. Also in 1930, Alfred’s son Lawrence “Chummy” Wickett formed the St. Louis Boat & Motor Company.

Identifying Features:

The most distinctive feature of Meraco canoes is the “arrowhead” deck, which is a refinement of the “spearhead” deck Wickett patented while running the Penobscot Canoe Company. Unlike other makes of canoe, where the inner gunwales extend to the stems, the inner gunwales of Meraco canoes are cut short at a taper, and the the deck is notched to receive them such that the tips of the inwales are captured.

Serial Numbers:

Meraco canoes are marked with serial numbers stamped on the inboard upper face of the stems. Some records have been discovered and preserved – see references below.

St. Louis Meramec Canoe Model Specifications

ModelLength(ft) x Width(in) x Depth(in)Notes
Meramec16 x 34 x 11½
17 x 35 x 12
18 x 36 x 12½
18" hardwood decks
Niangua16 x 34 x 11½
17 x 35 x 12
18 x 36 x 12½
Same as Meramec but with 26" decks.
Osage16 x 34 x 11½
17 x 35 x 12
18 x 36 x 12½
Same as Meramec but with 18" mahogany decks
Gasconade16 x 34 x 11½
17 x 35 x 12
18 x 36 x 12½
Same as Osage but with 30" mahogany decks
Meraco16 x 34 x 11½
17 x 35 x 12
18 x 36 x 12½
"Torpedo" stems
30" mahogany stems
Missourian17 x 35 x 12Identical to Meraco Model

More Information:

Audette: Susan T. 1998. The Old Town Canoe Company: Our First Hundred Years. Tilbury House, Gardiner, Maine. Includes information regarding Alfred Wickett’s relationship with Old Town Canoe Company, and his subsequent activities with Penobscot Canoe Company and St. Louis Meramec Canoe Company.

Miller, Daniel J. and Benson Gray. The Historic Wood Canoe and Boat Manufacturer Catalog Collection CD-ROM. Contains 1925, 1927 and 1928 St. Louis Meramec trade catalogs. Available here from Dragonfly Canoe Works and also from the WCHA.

Strasser, John F. and Dorothy S. Strasser. Maine on the Meramec – Discovering Alfred Wickett in the Midwest. Wooden Canoe 146:6-13, April 2008. Best history and details about serial number records.