St. Louis Meramec Canoe Company

Years in Business: 
1922 - 1978
Company History: 

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 and 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 Numbering: 

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.

Models Offered: 
  • Meramec Model - their standard model, offered in 16’, 17’ and 18’ lengths, with 18” long hardwood decks.
  • Niangua Model - same as Meramec model, but with 26” long decks.
  • Osage Model - Same as Meramec model, but with 18” long mahogany decks
  • Gasconade Model - Same as Meramec model but with 30” long mahogany decks
  • Meraco/Missourian Models - Torpedo stems and 30” long mahogany decks.
  • Meraco Speedster - 17 foot square stern speed canoe.
References: 
  • 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.Contains 1925, 1927 and 1928 St. Louis Meramec trade catalogs. It is available from the WCHA Online Store.
  • 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 of the company and details about serial number records.