Redart resident documents county’s shipbuilding legacy online

by Elsa Verbyla - Posted on Mar 13, 2013 - 01:47 PM

Photo: Edward Diggs, left, and his son Andy Diggs, both of Redart, hold the model of a workboat. Both workboat and model were crafted by Edward Diggs over his long career, and now he is the focus, but not the only subject, of an internet blog developed by Andy about Mathews County boatbuilders. Photo by Jennie Diggs

Edward Diggs, left, and his son Andy Diggs, both of Redart, hold the model of a workboat. Both workboat and model were crafted by Edward Diggs over his long career, and now he is the focus, but not the only subject, of an internet blog developed by Andy about Mathews County boatbuilders. Photo by Jennie Diggs

Andy Diggs of Redart, the son and grandson of Mathews boatbuilders, has started an internet blog, "Diggs Built," to record and publicize their work.

In the long term, Diggs said, "I would like to chronicle the development of Mathews boatbuilding and how it evolved from a shipbuilding community, to my dad being the last in a line of craftsmen."

And with that goal in mind, he has started his blog with an article and photos about his boatbuilding grandfather, Edgar Diggs, leading into the career of his father, Edward Diggs.

Edward Diggs worked for many years at Horn Harbor Marina constructing the sturdy wooden deadrise workboats that take watermen to the crabbing and fishing grounds of the Chesapeake Bay. He has also built a number of smaller vessels, from rowboats to pleasure craft.

Today, Edward Diggs mostly makes detailed models of those vessels. Andy Diggs lives next door and wants to create a clear record of his father’s work, and that of other local builders.