Bronza M. "Bronzie" Parks (died May 13, 1958) was an American boatbuilder from Wingate, Maryland. Parks was the last builder of Chesapeake Bay skipjack sailing vessels.

Bronza M. Parks
Cutout of Bronza Parks at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
DiedMay 13, 1958
Cause of deathMurder
Resting placeDorchester Memorial Park, Cambridge, Maryland
Known forBuilder of skipjacks
SpouseKatie Lewis
ChildrenIrene, Joyce, Lucille, Martha, Mary

Personal life edit

Parks was married to Katie Lewis with whom he had five daughters: Irene, Joyce, Lucille, Martha, and Mary.[1] At the time of his death in 1958, Parks was a candidate for Dorchester County commissioner and president of the Lakes-Straits Fire Department.[2]

Boatbuilding edit

Parks began building boats at the age of 16 and completed more than 400 vessels during his career.[1] He built his first skipjack, the Wilma Lee, in 1940.[3] The last three skipjacks that Parks completed were the Rosie Parks and the Martha Lewis in 1955 and the Lady Katie in 1956.[4][5]

Death edit

In 1958, Parks was working on an 18-foot (5.5 m) skipjack-style sailboat for Willis C. Rowe of Silver Spring, Maryland. During a confrontation with Parks on May 13, 1958, regarding the cost of the project Rowe shot the boatbuilder three times killing him. Rowe was eventually convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 18 years in prison.[1][5][6]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c Cooper, Dick (November 17, 2010). "Saving the Rosie Parks". Chestertown Spy. Retrieved March 9, 2011.
  2. ^ Bradley, Wendell; Lawson, John (May 14, 1958). "Maryland Boat Builder Shot Dead in Dispute with Silver Spring Client". Washington Post and Times-Herald. pp. A1, A13.
  3. ^ Dudley, William S. (2010). Maritime Maryland: A History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press in association with the Maryland Historical Society and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. p. 157. ISBN 978-0-8018-9475-6. OCLC 458738456.
  4. ^ Fincham, Michael W. (2003). "The Rise and Fall of the 'Two-Sail Bateau'". Chesapeake Quarterly. 2 (1): 5. Retrieved March 9, 2011.
  5. ^ a b White, Christopher (2009). Skipjack: The Story of America's Last Sailing Oystermen. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-312-54532-1.
  6. ^ Roth, Hal (November 2005). "The Murder of Bronza Parks". Old News from Delmarva. Tidewater Times. Retrieved March 9, 2011.