Bronza Parks

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Bronza M. Parks
20131005 Bronza Parks cutout Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.JPG
Cutout of Bronza Parks at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
Died May 13, 1958
Wingate, Maryland
Cause of death Murder
Resting place Dorchester Memorial Park, Cambridge, Maryland
Nationality American
Occupation Boatbuilder
Known for Builder of skipjacks
Spouse(s) Katie Lewis
Children Irene, Joyce, Lucille, Martha, Mary

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

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]


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]


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]


  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.