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Fox and Friends: Marine architect, engineer, and historian Bill Fox discusses the first auto ferry on the river

This man is uniquely qualified, as a marine architect, engineer and historian, to discuss the history of the Captain John Smith, the only auto-carrying ferry to span the James River between Norfolk and Richmond when she was built back in 1926. His name is Bill Fox, and he has written three books on the subject of tidewater transportation history. He did the research, submitted a grant request, and supervised the removal and renovation of her pilot house, the only piece saved from the wreckers' ball. The historic essence of The Captain John Smith, now almost complete, is open for visitors in a lot off the main road in Surry. Admission is free.

Always ready to tackle a new challenge, Bill described to the JCC Rotary Club his new task, the renovation of a 1926 caboose at the refurbished Norge Train Depot, itself a historical museum. Trains were an essential part of the transportation link, which along with marine commerce fed the growth of the unique tidewater region that we know today.

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