Manuel Nerona’s Ferry Mailbox
Manuel Neronha Sr. was born in 1907 and came to Jamestown as a child. As soon as he was old enough, he went to work for the Jamestown & Newport Ferry Company. Except for a few years in the 1940s, he worked on the Jamestown ferries until his retirement – a total of 42 years. During those years, he rose from a fireman who shoveled coal and monitored the steam pressure in the ferry’s engine room to port engineer, a specialist in ensuring that all parts of the ferryboat propulsion system were in working order.
His skills in keeping a boat running properly undoubtedly came in handy when he built this ferryboat model that did double duty as his mailbox. Closed it looks like a ferryboat. The handle on the side opens the top and reveals the place for the mail.
The ferryboat that Manny modeled was one of two identical sister ships that were the last ferries to sail the Jamestown-Newport route. He didn’t put the ship’s name on the model, so it is unclear whether the model is of the Newport II or the Jamestown IV. Instead, the nameboard NERONHA is on the side below a simplified version of the anchor symbol on the ferries.
Come to the summer exhibit at the Jamestown Museum to see more ferryboat models and learn about Jamestown ferries.