What was the front compartment on this old 'Courting Canoe'?

I’ve been wondering what the compartment with the latch is for? This was my great aunts canoe with my grandmother paddling. I never went canoeing with dad but my brother that did said dad could get into a canoe without it moving much at all- a skill needed if you brought the gramophone along, for sure! (Dad is the youngest one there, c. 1923, Belle Isle, Detroit, Michigan.) https://photos.app.goo.gl/hNu1R6KnP4hmx2zh6


This picture is freaking awesome. She has a 1923 record player and 3 kids in a canoe and the kids are totally chill. This is my wet dream. God things were better when men wooed women in a canoe, rowboat or dory.

Looks like the courting was over and the child bearing began.
The front compartment was for the picnic lunch of course. In the Golden Age of canoeing, couples used canoes instead of cars to get privacy. That would be around 1900-1920.

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Love the photo, and the old, courting canoe too.
I’m thinking those kids have been paddling in that canoe prior to the photo being taken; they look calm and collected.

The picket fence looking thing in front of the little girl is a wooden, fan shaped, removable, seat back. A lot of guys would mount them in their canoe so their girlfriend or wife could lean and relax. Lots of guys also carried several large pillows in the canoe for the lady to set on.
Sitting on pillows, leaning back against the backrest; chilling like Cleopatra on her “party barge”.

It is my understanding that a lot of the lakes where courting canoes were paddled were patrolled by police, and signs were posted around the lake admonishing those in the canoe to keep their head “above board” so to speak.
Helped to control potential “hanky panky” being played I suppose?

I have collected 9 or 10 of the old seat backs over the years; sure would like to have one of those original signs!




That bottom photo is also Belle Isle. You can see another canoe with the gramophone aboard in front of the old Belle Isle Casino. Casino some would say- there never was gambling there. It was for parties, weddings, receptions, etc. There seems to be some three or four different types of canoes here, c. 1923 also.https://photos.app.goo.gl/bUProusYM5Lm7KPi9

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1923 for that photo. Dad, the youngest, was born in 1921.

Love the Belle Isle photo where the lady with the buttons down her back is doing the paddling while the guy lounges against the pillows. Equal paddling rights!

Who knew?
Canoes back then were a rite of passage…
Thanks for posting…

thanks to Bob for the photos.

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So it sounds like many a couple seeking intimacy were “Thwarted”! :wink: :laughing:

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That’s a groaner…but very funny!

So you’re telling me the trend of people paddling/floating around with bluetooth speakers blaring is actually just a throwback to courting rituals from 100 years ago? Today I learned…