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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.