Come take a ride on the Hatton Ferry, a historic ferry across the James River and the only poled ferry still operating in the United States. The Hatton Ferry operates free of charge, although a donation is requested, from 9-5 Saturday, and Noon-5 Sunday* from mid-April to the end of October and at other times by special arrangement.
A ride on the ferry is a unique opportunity to experience times past. Two hundred years ago, there were a thousand poled ferries carrying people across rivers and streams throughout the United States. Ferries served Albemarle County from the mid-eighteenth century to the mid- nineteenth century, and provided a means by which European settlers could communicate with other settlers and establish commercial ventures. There's no better way to experience the beauty and tranquility of the James River- and to get a glimpse of a simpler way of life- than by taking the ferry at Hatton.
A store and ferry began operating at the Hatton Ferry site sometime in the late 1870's. In 1883 the Federal government authorized the creation of a post office, and the name Hatton was chosen in honor of the Postal official who signed the authorization agreement. The ferry was privately owned until 1940 when the Department of Highways took over operations. In the mid 1980's service was cut back to just weekends on a seasonal basis. In 2010, ownership and operation was transferred to "Hatton Ferry," a non-profit group consisting of residents of Albemarle and Buckingham counties. For the past 40+ years, the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society has proudly fought to insure the survival of America's last hand poled ferry.
The original wooden ferry was replaced long ago by one made of steel. Under ideal conditions, a round-trip crossing takes about 30-45 minutes. No more than two cars and six people can be taken at one time. The Hatton Ferry is located in southern Albemarle, a few miles outside of Scottsville.
*The ferry cannot operate when the water level in the James River is too high or too low. For information about weather-related closings, call the Albemarle County Historical Society at (434) 296-1492, visit our website at thehattonferry.org, or friend us on Facebook for easy weekly updates.