Christopher Smith and Gar Wood are still alive and well in Algonac

One of the magical things about going out on a Woody Boat is that you are not just out on the water in a boat, you are enjoying a living history. You are a moving museum of art, engineering and a moment in time. It’s even more fun when you can tap into the entire moment in a wonderful area. This year the big Algonac show is returning to the marina where it all started. June 26-28, 2015  Click HERE for the Chapters website!

 

Pete out on his stunning Cobra

The original Chris Craft factory, Our Pal and long time Fellow Woody Boater Pete Beauregard’s place, which is about as rich in history as it comes.

The original Chris Craft plant is still there, and the setting for the event

This year they are also planning some special historic tours in an effort to change up the old boat show formula. So, think, ya get to go up to where it all began, go boating where it all started, eat at some of the places that are still there and take a tour of the town Christopher Columbus Smith and Gar wood grew up in..

At the Old Club, the first yacht club in the US. Timeless!

We have been there several times, and to be blunt, if you have never been there, you will never understand the true history of your boat. It all comes into view. how and why certain boats were made. It’s as if you could go to Woody Boater heaven and go boating. The turquoise water is perfect. And best of all, you won’t be alone!

Panther out for a short ride! Rick didn’t know he had a Chris Craft babe with him, but our “special” camera caught all the action

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30 Responses to “This Year In Algonac, The Force Will Be With You!”
  1. Greg Lewandowski

    Matt, thanks for the great introduction. It is the 30th anniversary of our Michigan Chapter Show, and we intend to make it one to remember!

  2. Rick

    LOL. It was a great weekend there. If my ghostly sidekick had been a mechanic I would have been able to get Panther over to The Club. The engine hatch is open because Matt also found a fuel leak while trying to fix the engine with a dollar bill and talking to Van Ness on the phone. I was happy to just get to the ramp without any fireworks. Now I know I had a guardian angel next to me. Due to the kindness of everyone at the show we were offered rides in other boats much more valuable than mine. Thanks everyone. If you haven’t been to where it all began I encourage you to go.

      • floyd r turbo

        I see the problem, 2 of the spark plugs are shorted out thru some idiot’s hand, lol. Just kidding – always nice to have another helping hand

    • Dennis Mykols

      What do you mean “failed as usual”? If it weren’t for you coming to MY rescue, in the dark I might add, “Lyman Tyme” would have been sittin on the bottom of Lake Dora!
      Matt seem to be one of those unselfish boaters, who is always there, ready to jump in to see if he can be of any help. Yes, he may not solve EVERY issue, but at least Matt stops what he is doing, and jumps right in, tools at the ready.
      For that alone, Matt deserve some kind of award, hint, hint…

  3. Troy in ANE

    I love to see how these shows are transitioning into active events. This sounds like it is going to be a Great time in Algonac.

    Can anyone tell me more about the Cruiser behind Panther in that last pic. Looks like the sister to one I fell in love with from one of Texx’s stories.

    • Greg Lewandowski

      Troy
      Although it is a very rare boat, we are fortunate to have several 33 ft. CC Futuras in our Michigan Chapter. The one you are asking about is Shepsl, a 1956 owned by one of our directors, Craig Lamm.

  4. Wilson

    I remember being there back when Ron Ballentyne was incoming ACBS President…His wife Barb made and shared great cookies. It was a great show then. There was no room at the “Inn” so I stayed up in Marine City. I remember driving along the river back to the Detroit airport Sunday morning and saw Joe Morrison and his father fishing from their Chris Craft utility….I wrote Joe later and asked if he would actually put a fish in that beauty and he replied they had been doing it since the day it was new.

  5. Speedboat Outlaw

    Chris Smith and some of the family are buried less than a mile from the plant. Sometimes there will even be a piece of varnished mahogany on his gravestone.

  6. Grandpa Bob

    Matt, the Mich Chap has to love you for this post. This Show should be on the Bucket List of every A & C Boat fan. My wife and I attended this show a few years ago bringing our 1953 22′ CC Sportsman. We received two awards which are cherished. They have the CC Plant and Stack on them in a cast relief. A real thrill for us was being able to go to Brunch at The Ole Club in our own boat. Having grown up in Detroit, we had been there as guests in our younger days. We docked our boat in the exact same spot as the U-22 pictured in the photo at the beginning of your posting.

  7. TommyHolm

    Varnish wood isn’t the only thing you might find on Columbus’ grave. And Mr. Garfield Wood is there as well with his trusty mechanic Johanson nearby. It’s a cemetery of woody legends.

  8. Alex

    Thanks for the reminder. I’ve never been to the Show or Algonac. So I’ve put this in the schedule and will try to make it work. Including bringing a boat.

  9. Mr. Andreas Jordahl Rhude

    I roll my eyes whenever I read all this gushing about the old Chris-Craft plant. Get over it people. It was just a boat manufacturing factory, not some holy site.

    I am sitting at my desk in my office right now in Peshtigo, Wisconsin. The old Thompson Bros. Boat Mfg. Co. plant is about 300 feet away from me. I can turn my head and look out the window and see it. I can see where the steam boxes protruded from the concrete block walls at one time. There are no statues, plaques, or people waiting around outside trying to get a glimpse of the interior. It’s just an old abandoned and empty factory complex. I wonder what Pete Thompson would think if he visited his grandfather’s grave (the original Peter Thompson) down the road and found bits of varnished wood on the tombstone.

    If someone wants to buy the old Thompson Boat facility I am sure the owner would be happy to have you take it off his hands.

    I love boats and boat history and the interest folk have in the nostalgia, but some of it is over the top.

    Mr. Andreas Jordahl Rhude

  10. Dennis Mykols

    hey Pete, don’t look now but you are about to get your “doors blown off”. Who was that masked man???

  11. thomas d

    i live in west tn. which is always a 1000 miles from anything to do with wood boats. i wish i was near anything to do with wood boats. i don’t mean to be rhude but i want to see where it all began. part of the fun of old wood boats is all the history they represent. Algonac may not be a holy site in the Biblical sense but to people like me that live breath and love wood boats and everything they represent it is as close as you can get to a “holy site” and i can’t wait to see it. hurry up with the parts, boats and stuff page.

    • floyd r turbo

      Nice pun on the “rhude” “rude”, lol. If you think this over the top you would be really amazed at the Canadian’s dedication to the Disappearing Propellor (Dippy) Boat. I’ve had the pleasure of being “exposed” to some of their “worship services” that masquerade as their annual general meeting. Members frequent the grave site of the only clergy man known to have died in a “Dippy” while motoring thru thin ice on Lake Muskoka (or was it Joseph or Rosseau) while visiting a member of his church by boat as well as the home of Billy Johnson who founded the company in Port Carling. And I’ll agree with them, especially after some “brilliant” developer/gov’t official decided they would “raze” what was left of the Ditchburn factory on the Gravenhurst Waterfront. What a travesty to have committed.

  12. John Baas

    Yeah, they are just buildings. But those buildings are tangible historic proof that my boat had a “birth place”. Heck, I even visited the remnants of the Chitek Boat Co. while there for our little boat rally. The present owner of the property has a shrine to the boat company inside his window treatment factory. He marveled at the re-construction of the building following the 1964 fire that ended the boat building there. It’s history. It’s home.

  13. Dennis Mykols

    They say there is inches of saw dust still up in the rafters of the old buildings where they now winter store boats. I would like to bottle up some of that stuff…

  14. Steve Moreau

    Great day hope everyone’s well. I love history and old stuff hopefully I can make some of these far away places as well as some in my own back yard. And just a note but sometimes we take for granted what we have right in front of us. But please don’t think I’m to strange if I pull off the road and take a picture of a mountain or scoop up a hand full of saw dust and put it in my pocket. As we allput ddifferent values on different thing. Good night and my your dreams be filled or your most covenant desires.

  15. Grant Stanfield

    For classic boat enthusiasts, the Bluewater region around Algonac and Harsens Island is well worth a visit…I’ve been to the Algonac show three times and can’t wait to get back there again. The CC plant is a great venue for the show…glad the water levels have risen enough to bring the show back to “where it all began”. The area is absolutely crawling with wooden boats of all kinds, and the water really IS turquoise in the St. Clair River and its many bays and canals. It’s wonderful.

    If you haven’t been to this show yet…JUST GET THERE! You’ll see..!

    • Scott Campbell

      Do you know where I might obtain a copy of the Riverside Grocery?
      Thanks Scott

  16. Scott C

    Wow, I’ve been on the hunt for a copy of the “Riverside Grocery” poster. I stopped by there this summer and the new owners did not have it and had no knowledge as to where to get one. And yet here it is on Woody Boater!!
    Can anyone get me in touch with someone who might a supply of this print to sell one? Thanks Scott.