A - St. Croix Continuing our tour of Classic Minnesota boating history, our tour guide Dane Anderson and I were invited by Dave Bortner and his crew from Freedom Boat Services to join them for a rare opportunity to cruise the St. Croix River on board the Glengarry, which is owned by the Andersen Corporation, manufacturer of Andersen windows since 1903.

Normally the Glengarry is only used for employee and corporate functions. It is considered quite an honor by the 9,000 employees to be selected for a cruise on the historic Glengarry. Captain Tim Langness and his crew were wonderful hosts and tour guides and are very knowledgeable about the boats 75 year history, encouraging us to explore every inch of the boat.

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After we were welcomed aboard the Glengarry, Captain Tim shared a pamphlet with us which highlights the long and rich history of the boat, as follows:

A Tradition is Launched

Bay Port – June 23, 1938. The valley is alive with activity. preparations for the Fourth of July celebration are already under way, but today the people of Bay Port are talking about Fred C. Andersen’s new boat. A crowd of Andersen employees gathers behind the plant. There, at the edge of St. Croix River, they watch a dream come true. With the burst of a champagne bottle over her bow, a grand white wooden boat slides into the water for the time.
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Over the following decades, the Glengarry has hosted passengers as diverse as duck hunters and dignitaries, fulfilling Fred C. Andersen’s dream to be able to enjoy the leisurely pace and beautiful scenery of the river with his family and friends.

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Captain Tim Langness at the helm of Glengarry.


Although the hull of the boat was built at the Joseph Dingle Boat Works in St. Paul, Minnesota, Fred Andersen stipulated that the deck and cabins be built by Andersen craftsmen under the direction of the boat’s designer, Fred W. Dingle. The Glengarry’s windows, of course, can be considered some of the earliest custom products ever produced by Andersen.
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From the day work began on the site of an old federal boat yard adjacent to the plant, the Glengarry has been intertwined with Andersen Corporation. While it was built for family use, Fred Andersen’s definition of family extended to all members of the Andersen Team – employees, customers, suppliers and friends – thousands of whom have enjoyed the experience of cruising the St. Croix on the Glengarry.
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A Living Symbol

The Glengarry is one of a very few all-wood boats still operating on the St. Croix River. It is constructed of cypress planking with oak ribs. About fifty percent of the planking has been replaced over the years. The railings and spars are the original Philippine mahogany. It is 49 ft. 10″ in length and has a beam of 15 ft. with a draft of 3 ft.

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The original compass used in the Glengarry to navigate the St. Croix River in the early days.


Like the company it represents, the Glengarry has seen it’s share of changes. For reasons of safety, the boat was rewired and diesel engines installed, while the propellers, shafts and fittings were all updated. Some cosmetic modifications to the light fixtures and railings have helped retain it’s original character.
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The Glengarry’s Original Ships Locker.

 
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From the original ships log book, noting the Glengarry’s first trip July 1st, 1938.


The two longest cruises taken by the Glengarry were in 1939 to Chicago via St. Louis “Utilizing, en route, a historic trans-Illinois canal” and in 1961 – 62, when the boat traveled more than 3,000 miles along the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee Rivers.

Welcome Aboard! – The Andersen Corporation

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In the days before amplified bullhorns, a megaphone provided ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore communications.

 
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The Glengarry is rechristened every 25 years, and the champagne necks are saved as a reminder of these historic events.


 
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The Glengarry was restored by Freedom Boat Services over a period of 8 months in the winter of 2011-12 by Master Shipwright Mark Sauer and his amazing crew which required close to 7,000 hours to complete. They used 2,800 board feet of 6/4 African mahogany and over 11,000 screws to replace the boats original bottom.

 
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The completed wood work also included the replacement of a section of the keel and some internal frames. The planking was replaced in sections to ensure the original shapes were maintained.

 
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The entire Glengarry restoration team. Congratulations on a job well done!

 
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On our way down the St. Croix River which is just east of the City of St. Paul, MN. The river divides the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin and flows into the Mississippi River.

 
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It’s a perfect day for a cruise to beat the summer heat.

 
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Master Shipwright Mark Sauer who led the restoration team at Freedom Boat Service takes an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of his labor at the helm of the Glengarry.


Dave Bortner welcomed over 20 guests for the special celebratory cruise on the St. Croix River, and everyone had a great time, with great food and refreshments along the way under the bright Minnesota sun.
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Long time fellow Woody Boater John Karlson and Carla Gernhofer from Hagerty Marine Insurance enjoying the cruise.

 
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The Glengarry’s Boat House and rail system on the St. Croix River.


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Special thanks to the Anderson Corporation for sharing this unique wooden boating experience with us, to Captain Tim Langness and his crew, and to Dave Bortner from Freedom Boat Service for inviting us along, to join in on the fun.

Stay tuned for more stories from Classic Minnesota and the big Gull Lake Classic Boat Show at Bar Harbor on Saturday and Sunday. The is shaping up to be a fantastic event.

Also thanks to our tour guide Dane Anderson for sharing his wonderful photographs and knowledge of the area along the way.

Texx
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14 Responses to “Classic Minnesota Part 2: Glengarry, Celebrating 75 Years Of Service On The St. Croix River”
  1. Texx

    By the way, according to Captain Tim one of the most commonly asked questions is “Where did the name come from?”

    “Glengarry” is named after a county in Scotland.

    • cobourg kid

      Glengarry! Our cottage on Go Home Lake (Muskoka) was built in 1959 with “modern” Anderson Windows. Every time it got cold up there (and it got cold a lot if you must know) I cursed the the Swedes for that dang single pane glazing . Now I find out that the Anderson window folks were in fact Scots . Now as a pearson of Scottish decent aye should have known!. To paraphrase Jimmy Buffet …. some people claim its the window to blame but I think its my own dang fault. ‘Maya Copa’ Swedes for years of unwarranted scorn. BTW 53 years later those old Scottish windows still slide like the day they came out of the factory!

  2. Troy

    Very enjoyable story.

    It is amazing to see a boat like that kept up by the same family/company for so many decades.

    • Texx

      Yes – We are told that the family is passionate about this unique, purpose built wooden cruiser.

  3. Carla

    Ha ha, Matt:). Thank u for the kind words! It was a pleasure joining Dave and Mark’s team of young and extremely talented restorers on a perfect cruise on a perfect day. The boat will definitely be around another 75 years with caretakers such as this. Thank u to our Hagerty clients who joined us and Sandy Kenyon, Entertainment Reporter from NYC..pleasure meeting everyone!

  4. Carla

    Kudos to Texx and Dane for the story and the pictures! U guys r amazing!!

  5. rabbit

    Yet another example of why Minnesota/Western Wisconsin is woody boating heaven. Tahoe, Thousand Islands, Michigan, Adirondacks: We’re wrastle you for the title.

    • Dennis Mykols

      It’s reading stories of this type, about all the great boating locals around the country that has made my “BUCKET LIST” into a “55 GALLON DRUM ” list!!!

  6. WoodyGal

    Cruising on a beautifully maintained, one of a kind, family owned, 75 year old wooden boat. It doesn’t get any better than this!

  7. floyd r turbo

    Kudos for the Anderson company for spending to $$$ to maintain this boats legacy and for including their employees, that’s good practice.

  8. Tim Langness

    Thanks again for giving us the opportunity to share this important piece of our corporate history with you! I am proud to work for a Company that values it’s history so much! Happy boating!