Fredericksburg Ferry

One last post about our trip last weekend to Hermann Missouri. Not too far from our B & B, there was ferry service across the Gasconade river. Harland had only been on a ferry once, and me never. Located in Fredericksburg, Missouri, there has been ferry service here since 1886.  Fredericksburg itself is a tiny town with a current population of only 14, not counting cats and dogs. It consists of a group of homes scattered along a gravel road. Near the river’s edge is an old mill that has been converted into a restaurant. We ate there our first night at our B & B since it was only a couple miles down the road and we loved it. Harland said it was the best steak he had ever had. I could find little information about Fredericksburg, except that in July 1864, a civil war battle was fought near here.

Anyhow, the last day of our stay we crossed the river on the ferry. We approached the town from the opposite bank of the river. We stopped and waited. While we waited I noticed this old building in the middle of a soybean field near the road.

It was a limestone structure, and appeared to have been a hotel, probably in the 1800s. Anyway, the ferry operator saw us waiting for her, and came out of a nearby bait shop. She hopped aboard with her little bulldog, and started the ferry’s engine.

We waited patiently while the ferry chugged its way across the river towards us. During the crossing, the bulldog frisked about as if crossing the river was the highlight of his day.

When they reached our side, the ferry thudded to a stop against the riverbank.

The operator removed a chain blocking our access to the ferry, and we drove aboard. We then started back across the river. We gave her our $4 fee, and chatted for a while. She said her dog only got to ride along in the late afternoon because then the metal deck was not so hot as to hurt his feet. There were a few signs of interest posted on the side of the ferry pilot house.

Our crossing only took about a minute, but it was a fun experience.

We thudded to a stop on the riverbank, the ferry operator removed the chain, and we drove off the ferry and back on dry land. If we return to this area, we’ll have to take the ferry again.

Up next: Homemade Peach Pie with piecrust made from scratch.


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Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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33 Responses

  1. What a cute little town. Love that it still has a ferry. We’ve been on a ferry only once in Wisconsin. It was run by the state so there was no fee. It was a VERY foggy morning. We didn’t even realize we were driving right beside the river. I was checking the map and my husband asked me if I saw anything about a ferry crossing. When I asked him why he said because the road ends in the river! There were signs too but he likes to tease. We waited for the ferry to appear out of the fog and chatted with the locals on the ferry as it crossed. It was hard to tell we were on a ferry with the fog hiding everything. You got the nicest photos of your crossing. I love the limestone building too. It appears someone is taking care of it. The roof looks new with the scallops on the edge. Thanks for sharing your trip.

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Gardener,
      Thank you for sharing your ferry story. I had a similar experience when I vistited the coast of Maine about 20 years ago. It was foggy the entire time I was there and couldn’t hardly see the ocean. Knew it was out there, but couldn’t see it. 🙂

  2. Teresa says:

    Ferry rides are so much fun! I always liked to do those types of activities when I would take my son and nephews on trips. Your pictures are really wonderful, as always.

  3. Lee Ann L. says:

    That is a cute little ferry. I love riding ferries. The Galveston-Bolivar ferry is free and quite a decent ride. I love your pictures. 🙂

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Lee Ann,
      It was a very personal ferry experience as it only holds one vehicle per trip.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Thanks for all the pictures and what a unique little ferry!


  5. Shailaja says:

    Looks like a very picturesque ferry crossing. Ferry service used to be quite common here some years ago, but now most of our waterways have bridges. Travel by the ferry during the monsoons used to be quite an adventure then.

  6. Stephanie says:

    Hi Suzanne, how’s your weekend so far? love this little quiet town. I have not been to such a small town. Btw, the fee is expensive right? The ride is surely memorable… short and sweet he he… 😀

  7. Vivian says:

    What an interesting ferry. I’ve never seen one like that before. Thanks for sharing your trip and pictures. Oh, and happy anniversary!
    p.s. I’m trying your refrigerator pickle recipe as we speak. Hope it turns out!

  8. Ashley says:

    I have done one of those to, it was I believe right inside Arkansas off from Branson. It’s a treat~


  9. GeoBroad says:

    Your site is really beautiful…….I found it on the PW blog….and have been reading you for a while now, so thought I let you know….check mine out sometime it’s on WordPress.

    The GeoBroad

  10. oh my goodness! I really was not expecting that! I’m thinking like a really big ferry boat! I love it, that is so cool! I would have definately taken the ferry ride if I was there too! I love stuff like that! My experience with ferrys is limited to the state of Washington. (We lived very close to Seattle for 2 years) Of course they were very big, carrying probably 50 cars or something like that. The best part about large ferry boats is the little cafeteria upstairs…Starbucks coffee in thermos carafes, cereal, fruit, hot dogs…stuff like that. Definately an experience!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Bonnie,
      There wasn’t any Starbucks on our little ferry. Just a jumping dog. 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by.

  11. Kara says:

    Ah, I wish you would have gotten a close up of the bulldog (my favorite!) Did you get his name?

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Kara,
      Sorry, I got distracted during the ride and didn’t take a pic of the dog. He was a cutie though.

  12. Stephanie says:

    I rested (stayed at home!) as my week was pretty busy 😉

  13. Donna says:

    I absolutely love your blog- your photos and your trips. This ferry is very different from our Washington State ferries though.

  14. Maggie says:

    I can tell you the ferry does not look like it has changed much in 30 or 40 years. I found your pictures today, after discussing the ferry with my mom today, and she was able to remember the name.

    Growing up, we had a trailer we would go to on the weekends. It would have been to the right of the home as you came across on there ferry. A lot of happy memories from there.

  15. Roberta Schwinke says:

    I live just up Hwy J from Fredericksburg and the ferry. You got some lovely pictures. I am writing a book about the Fredericksbug area. Would you be interested in sharing your pictures?

    • Suzanne says:

      Sure, let me know which ones, and I’ll send you a pricelist. Thanks!

    • Joe Krauska says:

      Hi Suzanne,

      My family has owned land about 5 miles from that ferry, renting canoes and floating the Gasconade River since I was very young (I’m 22). I actually have helped the owner when I was little catch minnows and crawdads for her bait shop during my creek adventures with my trusty seine net! You seemed to have traveled to the ferry at a good time seeing as it was sold for scrap metal sometime in the past 3 or 4 years. It was a true shame seeing as the ferry really helped bring Hermann vistors across the river to eat at River’s Edge restaurant and bring business into the town. I have hope that a new ferry will take its place in the future. Fredericksburg is a wonderful town filled with some of the nicest people you could ever meet! The wildlife is abundant and shaped me into the outdoorsman I claim to be 😉

      I think it is really cool you have shared your story of this place, keep at it!!

      – Joe

  16. Richard M says:

    I have crossed that ferry before. When I was younger (about 60 years ago) my grandpa and I used to set out fishing lines over night in that area.

  17. Steve Jones says:


    Really COOL post, beautiful!

    It is a terrible shame the Fredericksburg Ferry is no more. I live in the vicinity and rode it many times. It had been in operation since 1886, so it made it about 128 years. Rural inland ferries often teeter on the precipice.

    I’m kind of a nut about them and have combined that with a love of long distance endurance motorcycling – which may not be of interest but some may at least enjoy the photos here: (Just below the top photos there’s a link to a ride report that has the rest of the photos).

    I have a question about your photos. I sent an email to the address in the “contact” section, but it was bounced as undeliverable. And I tried a Facebook message but I’m not really sure I did that right (I am a Facebook dummy). Anyway, if you can drop me a note from a working email address I’ll reply with my note.


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