Members of the public gathered on Saturday for the Hatton Ferry’s Community Day to celebrate a $105,000 endowment to keep the historical vehicle afloat.
The donations, made by John and Trula Wright and the Margaret Hulvey Wright Charitable Trust, will ensure that the ferry can continue to cross the James River using only the power of the current.
“This is the only poled ferry in the country, so it’s something worth preserving,” volunteer ferry operator Jon Anderson told The Daily Progress in April. “There were thousands in the past.”
Saturday’s attendees included Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook and Albemarle County Board of Supervisors’ Donna Price, according to Facebook posts.
The Hatton Ferry began in 1870 as Brown’s Ferry and later took its name from the former depot along the C&O, now CSX, railway on the north bank. Most ferries, manual and otherwise, fell to the speedier transit afforded by bridges. Today, the Hatton Ferry continues to link southern Albemarle County and northern Buckingham County.
Since 2010, the ferry has been operated by the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society.
Except for instances of low river levels that may be noted in advance on the ferry’s Facebook page, the society plans to operate the ferry from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday through October. There is no charge for people or cars, but donations are accepted.