Jim Taylor retired in 2003 from his career as a school principal. He then pursued his interest in African American history and became a historical interpreter who portrayed a slave who was a cooper with Historic Hudson Valley at the Philipsburg Manor farm and mills. While there, Taylor demonstrated bucket and barrel making to the public and assisted a group of teenagers in the building of a period boat that would have been used by farmers to bring grain via the Hudson River to the mills. This sparked an interest in boat building, and he founded the Peekskill Boatworks in 2009. Since then he has worked with more than 200 teens, both afterschool and in the summer, and has built approximately 14 boats, ranging from a 12-foot Bevin’s skiff to a 22-foot St. Ayles racing skiff. In addition to boat building, Taylor continues to portray a slave who tells the story of slavery in the North at numerous school and historical events throughout the year.