algonac rainbowYesterday in the comment section a commenter made an interesting  comment regarding our thoughts on Algonac being a more than just another place to visit, and a must see destination for all classic boat lovers. In a way, I do understand the comment, and as you know we love a good debate, so today we thought lets keep it going.. Here is the quote.

 

“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

On top of the world, with Chris Smith the grandson of Christopher Smith .. Yes it doesn’t get any better.

 

We did state, we do love a good debate, so here we go… I will beg to differ here regarding Algonac. Algonac is far more than just a manufacturing plant. It is the home of power boating. Period. This is where it began, all of it, Before Thompson boats, before Sea Ray, and well all of it. Sure there might have been power boats made in other areas, but the lifestyle, the sport, the power of power boats and power boating started and was inspired in Algonac. You can not truly understand your boats history unless you know how and why it was created. Which brings me to the point.

It’s not about the manufacturing part, nor the buildings, or statue. It’s about the spirit, the texture and the way of life that is there, that you can only understand when you are there. And to really live it, breath it, you need to go out on the water. The very water that was in there when the first Cris Craft putt putted out to go fishing. Then raced with Gar Wood. It’s a complete picture, it is to us another religious term. The “archetype” of a classic boating experience.

Spend the day going from place to place, island to Island, through the canals

 

algonac canal

One of the hundreds of canals, like streets that run through your town, here in Algonac, folks get around by boat. Called the Venice of America!

I could go on… So I will.. wood, has a spirit, a memory, and is alive. Yes, the wood in your boat has feelings, and part of that feeling is it’s brief history in Algonac, where it was converted into its next life. In a way born again and baptized in the waters of the St Clair! I warned you.. I can go on and on.. So in fact, if you have restored your boat, put a new bottom on it, it needs to be reborn, it needs to be baptized again in the the aqua waters of the Woody Boater gods.

Texx shooting today’s header. Look at that water!

 

It is not complete or truly alive until that happens. So I suggest to our Algonac friends that we hold a day there when you arrive, to not just back your boat into the water, but have a ceremony of baptism in the only true water your boat was meant to be in.. The glorious River of Life in Algonac! Can I have an AMEN my fellow brothers and sisters? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone here? I lost you at wood has life didn’t I?

Old wood still alive in Algonac!

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87 Responses to “Is Algonac The Holy Land For The Classic Boat Culture?”
  1. William Hammond

    Amen and Amen! Haven’t had my boat wet yet, still
    working on it. But I’ve been all around Algonac and The Nautical Mile! I do feel the Spirit of Mahogany & Teak & Holly & White Oak & Cedar! I do feel the history of Woody Boating present in Algonac & Marysville & Marine City! I’ve walked through Pete’s Place with the pictures from “Inside the Factories” in my mind and smelled the wood shavings! It is still alive in Algonac!! I’m so very glad we’re going back! To where it all began!

  2. Bob Kays

    Every interest has it’s mecca. There is even a mecca called mecca. Nothing wrong with us wanting to see where our boats were made, experience the place. People who love wood boats love history, I hear it at shows all the time.
    Today Matt is sounding a bit like a tv preacher on Sunday morning, amen brother amen. and I agree with him %100..

  3. m-fine

    Visiting historical places helps us connect with the past. Every old factory has its stories, as does every old battlefield, old hotel, old castle, old church. You can read about the Write brothers and learn a lot, or you can stand on the dunes at Kittyhawk with the wind in your face and really understand. The Algonac factory may not be the Roman Colliseum, but it was a huge part of our hobby.

  4. Troy in ANE

    I thought about commenting on Mr. Rhude’s comment last night, than wisely decided to rest on it overnight.

    To Matt: Amen Brother, AMEN, and HALLELUJAH AMEN!

    To Mr. Rhude: I have never been to Alconac but I get shivers up my back just thinking about the prospect of doing so. I am sorry you don’t get that same emotional rush. For me another part of the puzzle is how a family was able to build and maintain an empire over multiple generations. That is a very rare feat and deserves a great deal of respect, so I for one would LOVE to set foot inside what “was just a boat manufacturing factory” over 100 years after it’s inception and take in the smells, sounds, and spirit of the whole place.

    Troy Hersom (AKA Troy in ANE)

  5. Matt

    Thats right Brother Troy, Brother m-fine. Thats right.. mmmmm Say it brothers. Say it load and proud!

  6. RiverRat

    Happy for you ChrisCraft folks. I could care less. I am not taking my Lyman to Sandusky. I have my religious experience where I learned to love the water. The River, take me there, dip me in the water. A Lyman is just the best way for me to facilitate that goal. It is my heaven on earth.

    • Grant Stanfield

      Hey…you SHOULD take your Lyman to Sandusky, Ohio…the former Lyman plant is now a terrific seasonal marina, restaurant, pub, boat museum and party venue…and it’s right across the water from Cedar Point, one of the best amusement parks in the U.S! Sandusky, like Algonac, seems like a terrific environment to trailer your classic boat to and explore…

      Lyman Harbor was closed for the season when I made a side-trip to find it this past October, but there is a ton of Lyman memorabilia and boats inside this place!

  7. Sean

    This subject is unique, in that it is the one time where one word can conjure up a thousand pictures in one’s mind. To me this is the visceral home of all things woody boat and water goodness. That word…
    MUSKOKA.

  8. thomas d

    thanks for saying exactly what i was wanting to say. i figured someone could say it better than me. hope i get to see it all next year.

  9. Mike W

    Algonac just happens to be in the center of what was once, and likely still is, a boating culture that dates back to the start of our country if not before. It stretches from Detroit to Port Huron and includes the Detroit and St. Clair rivers, Lake St. Clair and most importantly “The Flats. The names and creations of Hacker, Dodge, Mayea, Smith and Wood are the core of our hobby. Their boats and lifestyle still exist for others to enjoy while reaching 100 years and there is no reason it won’t continue another 100 and beyond.

    Maybe I need to buy a wood boat? Nah, I’ll stick with Commanders for now while living vicariously through the works of others.

    • Cobourg Kid

      Canadians share the Detroit river with our southern neighbours and in fact Canada is closer to mainland ontario then it is to Michigan , unfortunately as a Canadian I can’t agree with Matt’s supposition that the power boating meca of the world is Algonac truth is if your boat was built in Miami , Muskoka, Muskegon or Manotick that’s where your personal Mecca lies

      But why be exclusive celebrate the diversity take time to visit other folks boating Meccas and you will soon find that there is a whole lot of interesting stories, beautiful scenery and amazing people out there in woody boater land ,be it Canada, America, Germany , New Zealand or even China .

      In other words brothers and sisters xenophobia in woody boater land and everywhere else in life is a curse ….vive la difference

      • Cobourg Kid

        Sorry folks meant to say Algonac is closer to mainland ontario than Michigan

      • Bartlomiej

        “unfortunately as a Canadian I can’t agree with Matt’s supposition that the power boating meca of the world is Algonac”

        I as a Canadian agree to that as well…

      • Cathleen

        Just so you realize, Canada is just across from Algonac on the other side of our 1 mile wide river. So close that our dog used to swim across and then take the ferry back. Not really sure what you meant by “Canada is closer to mainland Ontario than to Michigan” unless you said it wrong. Ontario is in fact part of Canada.

  10. Troy in ANE

    I can only hope that Mr. Andreas Jordahl Rhude will be visited on Christmas Eve by the ghosts of boat shows Past, Present, and Future to help soften his heart to the ways of woodyboaters.

    And maybe Bob Marley because lets face it a little Roots, Rock, Reggae never hurt anyone. OK everyone sing with me now. “Let’s get together and feel alright!”

    • Mr. Andreas Jordahl Rhude

      I am three time past resident of the Bob Speltz Land-O-Lakes chapter of the Antique & Classic Boat Society. Intimately involved in that group for years as captain of the annual Rendezvous and display at the big winter Minneapolis Boat Show. I founded the Thompson Antique & Classic Boat Rally. I advised with establishment of the classic boat show at Chetek, WI. I attend vintage boat gatherings all over the Midwest.

  11. Greg Lewandowski

    I am, of course, a little biased, put as Mike W accurately states, the Algonac/St. Clair River area was not just home to Chris Craft and Gar Wood, but other boat builders and racers such as Hacker Craft, Mayea, Dodge, Dee-Wite and numerous others. Part of our 2015 show will be a tour of the Algonac Maritime Museum and the “Legends” statue on the St. Clair River. I attached a link that gives some information about that historic munument. I hope all of our WoodyBoater friends can mark their calenders to come to Algonac and join us for an enjoyable weekend next June 26, 27 and 28. Additional information about the show is on our Michigan Chapter web site.

    http://www.legendsofalgonac.com/legends1/

  12. Mr. Andreas Jordahl Rhude

    Oh please. “Algonac is far more than just a manufacturing plant. It is the home of power boating” It’s the home of ONE particular boat manufacturer.

    Chris-Craft started in 1922. Thompson started in 1904. Which came first? And I can claim Thompson started earlier than that. Peter Thompson started building boats in 1889 at Racine, Wisconsin at the Racine Hardware Mfg. Co. (maker of “Racine” boats and canoes). And if I do as Chris-Craft does and say the company started when little Chris Smith played with boats in the bathtub, I can even get further back than 1889 for Thompson. I am sure Peter was playing with boats in his bathtub in Denmark as a wee lad.

    Three generations of the Thompson family were involved in the “Thompson” boat operations, including: Thompson Bros. Boat Mfg. Co.; Thompson Boat Company of New York, Inc.; Thompson Royal-Craft, Inc.; T & T Boats, Inc.; Cruisers, Inc.; Thompson Skis, Inc.; and Unit Structures, Inc. Countless boat builders came out of Thompson such as Grady-White Boats; Marine Company of America; and Shawano Boat Mfg. Co. Carver Boat Corp. was saved from sinking in 1963 by two men that had their start at Thompson/Cruisers.

    All boats are NOT Chris-Craft. Chris-Craft did NOT invent boats and boating. Chris-Craft and Algonac are the holy grail for fans of that particular brand. Many of us can give a hoot about Chris-Craft. I own and use a Chris-Craft boat (made by Thompson Boat Company of New York, Inc. by the way)and I have no urge to kiss the ground and drink the waters of Algonac. There were hundreds of other builders of great pleasure boats. In Minnesota alone there were about 130 pleasure boat manufacturers. Fans of those brands probably have little interest in Algonac.

    What do the Century Boat fans think about the Algonac/Chris-Craft worship?

    As anybody that knows me and the dedication I have given to the antique and classic boating community, they are laughing at this litany. I have been the only three consecutive term president of the Bob Speltz Land-O-Lakes chapter of the Antique & Classic Boat Society (I have the “Real Runabouts” windbreaker jacket that was once worn my Mr. Bob Speltz himself). I have written about a hundred articles for various publications and websites – for free (with a few exceptions), spreading the word about non-Chris-Craft boats and boat brands. I founded the Thompson Antique & Classic Boat Rally, Inc. I have assisted dozens and maybe hundreds of people with boat restoration and history information at no charge. I helped obtain at considerable price and scanned hundreds of pieces of literature for Thompson et.al. and many other brands and much of it is available on-line for FREE to anyone with interest.

    I have amassed a Thompson et.al. collection of literature and boats and memorebelia that one day hopefully will find its way into a museum.

    Oh. I better get back to work. The boss is coming

    Mr. Andreas Jordahl Rhude

    • Cobourg Kid

      Loved the history lesson Andreas but unfortunately there are a lot of I’s in your story .Perhaps an equal passel of “we’s” might improve the likelihood of a truce breaking out between warring parties

      Do we really need a naval war in woodyboater land, or anywhere else for that matter, particularly over who’s favourite Mecca is number first?

  13. Chris Fellows

    Great article! Love seeing Algonac mentioned. I live there and daydream about what it must have been like when the plant was up and running. I have a 64 CC skiff and just love that it lives in it’s home town. Algonac is the most beautiful place to boat as you mentioned.

  14. Mr. Andreas Jordahl Rhude

    Go to http://www.fiberglassics.com and look at the “Glassic Library” for information and history and literature of dozens of boat builders other than Chris-Craft.

    Look at the Facebook pages for Thompson Antique & Classic Boat Rally and Sentinel Structures, Inc. to learn more about history of boat building in Peshtigo. Come visit me in Peshtigo and I’ll give you the five cent tour.

  15. Wilson

    Andreas: You are a good man and have given much to the cause but I fear you are in a losing battle here…You see, as good as they are, there just aren’t as many Thompsons and Thompson owners as there are Chris Craft and Chris Craft owners….We love our Chris Crafts, even the ones that came from Courtland ( like my Corsair) and I guess we always will….and so for us the waters that surround Algonac just have a special meaning.
    Meantime, Merry Christmas !

    • Mr. Andreas Jordahl Rhude

      There were approximately 300,000 wooden Thompson boats built from 1904 til 1969. This does NOT include boats made by T & T Boats; Cruisers, Inc.; or Thompson Royal-Craft.

      If I recall from a Jerry Conrad presentation at New Port News, VA a few years ago, Chris-Craft made just under 100,000 wooden boats.

    • Sandi

      Well said Wilson …. the waters that surround Algonac will always we held dear to us.

      Best Regards,

  16. matt

    And here we go! I love it! For the record, the focus here is not on a specific brand. There are wooden boats made earlier. Like before Jesus. So, the focus on Algonac is about how it all came to life in a big way! Did Henry Ford invent the car? No, but Detroit is where we consider the home of the American Automobile. And Algonac is the home of the Power Boat. I think also to be geeky here, Chris Smith started in the lateish 1800’s

  17. Kent

    I highly recommend traveling to classic boating destinations. They will mean different things to different people, yes. But there is still a little bit of the Soul of the Matthews Plant left in Port Clinton, Ohio even though some teenagers burned most of the abandoned plant down years ago. I think passing under the historic drawbridge and putting past Brands Marina to see all the classic cruisers in their covered slips makes it a worthwhile stop when cruising the Lake Erie Islands.
    Sandusky, Ohio has museums, boathouses, and even a restaurant at the old Lyman Plant Site that serves as some sort of shrine to the worlds most famous lapstrake boats. Sadly, they will charge you to dock there whether you show up in a rare 1948 Lyman or a ratty 1987 Bayliner.
    Other great places? Catawba Island, Bass Islands, Kelleys Island on Lake Erie. Buffalo, N.Y., Alex Bay/Clayton, N.Y.
    Grease up your trailer bearings and check out some place new! I need to try some other places not on the list…

    • Cobourg Kid

      Kent there is another country on the other side of all but one of the Great Lakes and a lot of interesting things to see and do over there

      Come spring you might want to venture across the lakes and explore a little , especially since our Canadian currency is currently on sale in the USA

  18. Tom F.

    It’s not only about Algonac and Chris Craft’s original factory. It’s Michigan…the home to recreational boating in America, if not the world. The four major builders originated here. Chris Craft in Algonac, Holland and Cadillac. Century in Manistee, Gar Wood in Marysville MI, and Hackercraft in Mt. Clemens. The first franchised Chris Craft dealer…E J Mertaughs in Hessel Mi. Not to mention the many smaller companies that were located here. When they say “Where it all began” this IS where it all began. Michigan is mecca for the antique and classic boat enthusiast. Michigan and the Algonac show, the Les Cheneaux Island show (Hessel) should be on any enthusiasts bucket list. One of my favorite things is attending the Algonac show. Putting our 1936 CC in at St. Clair (my hometown) and running the 15 or so miles down the St. Clair river to the show. As I enter the Algonac harbor and look at the iconic water tower, I say to the boat and myself “Welcome home”!

  19. TommyHolm

    I went to Algonac once, I won’t be going back. Oh ya, I did go back one other time to visit Matt and Texx but not the duck hunter known as Columbus. Btw , the blue waters of lake Michigan where on its coast the best (not the most) boats were made, that water flows downhill to the “Mecca”. “where it all began” is a cult mantra to beware.

    • Tom F.

      Your not a Century guy are you? It’s almost like you had a family member that worked for Century. One could even surmise that you as a young lad worked there also and could be in the Century Boat Club, if not the President of said club. What really would seal the deal if you were right now putting a bottom on a Century boat use ing the Chris Craft double bottom method instead of the single plank batten fastened original style. Me thinks there is a slight bit of bias. Holms your too funny!

      • Tommy Holm

        I,m putting on a Danenberg bottom as I do not intend to go duck hunting. BTW, Danenberg lives in Manistee County.

    • Cathleen

      But did you sail the waterways at dawn and at dusk? Did you motor through the St. Clair Flats and into Lake St. Clair? Algonac is a wonderful town but its true beauty is on its waterways.

  20. Scott Robinson

    I visited Algonac this year and had a wonderful time.I was fortunate to visit the Teetor family and have a ride with Jack, now 91 years young, his son Daniel and Grandson, Scott. It was a great time. Thank you, Mark for the introduction, Scott

  21. Grant Stanfield

    Algonac, Harsens Island and the St. Clair Flats are beautiful country…best viewed over a varnished mahogany deck. Well worth your visit, in my opinion!

    • Tommy Holm

      I ” knew” a girl from Harsen,s Island once upon a time. I,m beginning to rethink my opinion of the duck hunting area where it ALL began.

  22. briant

    With all due respect to everyone, I am going to agree with Mr Rhude. Detroit may well be where most cars were made, but what actually made the automobile part of our classic culture is the people that cruised the main streets of hundreds of towns across the USA and their experiences. Millions of people do not make a trek to Detroit to honour their car or the past – they look at photos and recall great times with friends as they interacted with their four wheeled bit of Americana. What they did was important, not where the lump of metal was manufactured.

    The same is true with our 1930 custom made boat. I don’t give a rip about putting our boat back into the sewer poo waters of Lake Oswego, just because that is the first body of water the boat was launched into.

    I cherish the experiences we have had and those that we will continue to have as a family with our boat – in many beautiful bodies of water.

    I love my 1965 MG and the thousands of happy miles travelled with friends, my wife and my kiddos. I feel no need to make a trek to Abingdon England to roll around on the “MG hallowed ground” like a drugged cat flipping out on catnip.

  23. Sean

    Algonac “the home of the power boat”? I wouldn’t declare that so fast… As far as ‘powerboats’ go, 188th St. North Miami, Florida aka, Thunderboat Row is the home of real power boats. Formula, Donzi, Magnum & Cigarette to name the most recognizable to the layperson were all created there. Since 1961 these boats raced all over the world… and won. High performance of this type has never been concentrated in such a small area anywhere else in the world. Jim Wynne, Walt Walters and Don Aronow… arguably, nobody has made a mark on the marine industry (before or since) as these three have.

    So that covers performance, what about the “early days” and a “center” for boatbuilding… W.J Johnston Sr. was building boats in 1869, Minett and Ditchburn from the 1890’s, and names like Greavette, Duke and Port Carling Boat works round our just SOME of the great names that crafted quality wooden boats in Muskoka. So, As far as an area being the center of the recreational wooden boat it’s hard to argue that this Central Ontario area could be anything but.

    Now, If you want to go with unpowered wood boats… Peterborough, Ontario is the world hub for the C-type canoe where they have been built since the days of the fur trade.

    Algonac cool? You bet. Home of Chris Craft, mass production boats and a force in the early days of recreational boating? No question. First, best, fastest or center of the boating universe… uhmm… sorry, no. (or yes, only if your a CC guy) But, that’s not to say I wouldn’t like to go there and enjoy all the great boating history that is Algonac.

    • Bill

      the real thunderboat row was in kawkawlin Michigan about 150 or so miles north of Algonac where miss pepsi, miss tempo, the gale boats,, such crust and a host of others were built the real thunderboats

  24. Dennis Mykols

    man, great comments today, love it, and no one getting nasty, which also says a lot for this site. We are all passionate, about our Marque and area we boat.
    I have the unique pleasure to enjoy walking around the “other” Chris Craft Plant, the one in Holland, MI. Had some work done on my Lyman by Ed Fairchild, who has his shop IN the old Plant. Great History, vibes, till this day…

  25. Dennis Mykols

    all that is being said today, I still think it is the waters around Algonac that keeps me coming back, an I even lived in the Detroit area all my life up till 1992. It’s the blue, clear, COLD water coming down from Lake Superior, then Lake Huron and the St Claire River, that makes cruising around Algonac, Harsens Island and the Flats, so amazing.

    • Dennis Mykols

      The water color is so like blue, it talks your breath way, and to find it so close to a major Metro area. Lake Michigan waters are much darker blue, and clear.

  26. Texx

    Personally – When it comes to classic boats (wood or fiberglass or whatever material) I love them all equally, and don’t discriminate between manufacturers. I love to learn about the history of all the marques and the impact they had on the industry back in the day.

    For me, visiting Algonac is very special – but not necessarily to admire the old buildings (agreeing with Mr. Andreas Jordahl Rhude’s original comment) or to collect a jar of original sawdust and take it home for the mantel.

    For me visiting Algonac and the surrounding area gives me (a classic boat enthusiast) an opportunity to learn about the history of boat building in Michigan. When you attend a classic boating event in Algonac, you get to see Chris-Crafts, Centurys, Hackercrafts, Gar Woods, Belle Isles, and other boats that were designed & built in Michigan.

    And when you attend a classic boating event in Algonac, if you spend the time to visit with the locals (Michiganders or Michiganians – another debate for another day) like Chris Smith or Pete Beauregard (among others), you can learn a lot about the local history.

    But when you are in Algonac, it’s hard to ignore what Christopher Columbus Smith did for the area.

  27. steve bunda

    LOL, all this banter makes me want to take a trek to the south pacific and hug a Philippine Mahogany tree.

  28. Grant Stanfield

    …no one has mentioned Jobbie Nooner yet?

    OK, I will: Jobbie Nooner.

    (viewer discretion advised)

    • Texx

      Ha – Jobbie Nooner was happening when we were in Algonac a few years ago, and the stories the locals shared with us were hilarious (albeit somewhat intimidating for an old fart like me). Barges with temporary jail cells?

      Probably Tommy Holms can share a few stories about Jobbie Nooner with us…

  29. Texx

    Whether it’s Algonac, Bay City or Hessel (to name just a few) folks in Michigan are proud of their boating history and happy to share their knowledge with fellow enthusiasts (not unlike folks from Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, Muskoka, etc.)

    That’s why a well planned, well run, classic boat show with fresh ideas about how to present the show to the participants helps to bring all this local history together.

    In the case of Algonac and the surrounding area, visiting spots like the St. Clair Flats, Harsens Island, and the Old Club are all part of the boat show experience. Whether it’s by boat (preferred) or by car, there’s something around every corner that will stimulate your senses as a classic boating enthusiast.

  30. Texx

    As noted, it’s hard to ignore what Christopher Columbus Smith did for the industry over the last hundred or so years.

    And when you talk to some of the locals in Algonac, the old tales about Gar Wood and his activities on Harsens Island are legendary. Sadly, as time passes on, some day those stories will wither away.

  31. Alex

    Re today’s topic/debate, to quote a line from Annie Hall…

    “Uh, I’m very shallow and empty and I have no ideas and nothing interesting to say.”

  32. Walt

    Would it be too much to ask for someone to say what state this mythical place, Algonac, is in?

  33. reddog

    i think mr andreas just doesnt get ” THE LIFESTYLE” although he seems very knowledable and probably is a real cool guy maybe he’s had enough of his thompson. he secretly wants a chris-craft. hint hint to mrs rhude.

    • Mr. Andreas Jordahl Rhude

      Oh I understand the lifestyle.

      I have a Chris-Craft. I use it all the time. It’s my “user boat”

      Andreas – back home in MN – three miles from the sacred waters of Lake Minnetonka

  34. Kentucky Wonder

    There are a lot of places on earth that people just “connect” with. The connection happens for various reasons: religious, fame, historical importance, raw beauty just to name a few. One modern analogy I see is in the sportscar world. The Chevrolet Corvette factory is about 70 miles from me. There is a museum centered on just that one make of car, and factory tours given daily. Many people even pay extra just to watch their car being assembled, and to drive it away from the factory themselves.

    Why do I mention the Corvette? Because one might liken its place in the sportscar world to that of Chris-Craft in the boating world from the 1920s to the 1960s. The Corvette is the most widely driven performance car in America, as CC was the most popular brand of boats. Compared to their competitors, both the Vette and CC boats offered very good value for their cost, yet were never thought of as the best available at any time. Both CC and the Vette are what non-enthusiasts think of when wooden boats or sportscars are mentioned. They were the classic examples of their markets.

    So every enthusiast of any sort likely has places in mind that could be considered special places relating to their interest. If Algonac is special to you, great. If not, that’s fine, too. For me as a Greavette owner, I will be curious about Gravenhurst and the Muskoka area, where my boat was built and run for its first 40+ years. Is it holy? Maybe not. But it IS interesting to me anyway.

  35. Wilson

    …amd if we are going to talk about sports cars and raceboats perhaps we could draw the analogy to race tracks…There are lots of them today…but it all began with Bill France and Richard Petty at Daytona….and Algonac is the Daytona of motorboating.

    • Sean

      Again, I wouldn’t say Daytona started it all with respects to sportscars… I think of places like Goodwood, Silverstone, Monza, Spa & Monaco. As a former sportscar racer I would say in North America, (and although I love the 24 of Daytona) places like Watkins Glen, Riverside, Sebring and Mosport are all more sportscar tracks than Daytona. Not being a stock car fan I can’t tell you if Daytona is to NASCAR as Algonac is to Chris Craft but, I’d say it’s a good bet. Whatever your brand of burning fossil fuels… there’s a great place to do it.

  36. Steve Moreau

    Well hell stuck here in a hotel room with only this phone what I would give for a desk top. I think there a few in the lobby but hitting the sack. Long list of folks checking in today. I’ll be quick here and catch the flack later.
    Historical areas and site are way cool.
    Chris craft, dime a dozen but also cool
    foracatin with fiberclass? What u thinken this is a wooden boat web site!
    First commission boat? Yes it was wood built by Noah. Don’t recall God having any glass boats built, what kind of tree u get that out of?
    the boat at Jonah was thrown out of was wood.
    the boat Jesus went fishing on was wood.
    Oh well I’ll stop here but i think this will bleed over into tomorrow. Gotta stop I feel a sermon coming on!

    Thanks from a excommunicated catholic & wayward Methodist coonass from down the bayou.

    • Sean

      Walt Walters designed many a wooden boat including the Wyn Mill II Champion offshore racer… which directly gave birth to Formula, Donzi, Cigarette and Magnum. Many, many boats have copied this hull design and some are still produced today. Walters also designed the Fino which is a beautiful classic by any standard. I like my wood boats and my classic boats… It’s not coincidence that one follows the other. IMHO the best glass boats came straight from the wooden boat designers so, it’s all one big happy family.

  37. floyd r turbo

    Mt Clemens?? hello? home of the best naval architect and runabout designer this side of George Crouch.

    • Texx

      Yes Floyd, good call. Mount Clemens was also where John Hacker built Hackercraft boats after relocating from Detroit.

  38. Wilson

    Fun to relive my mispent youth by rereading all the Jim Wynne stories..

    Going back to Daytona…I’d say it is the origin of NASCAR racers….The brickyard in Indianapolis has got to be a home for sportscar type racers as were places like Watkins Glenn.

    To each his own…For us of Chris Craft interest…I”d have to say Algonac still wins out.

  39. Bartlomiej

    Hate to burst your bubble but the following quote is not accurate because really it didn’t begin there.

    “Algonac is far more than just a manufacturing plant. It is the home of power boating. Period. This is where it began, all of it, Before Thompson boats, before Sea Ray, and well all of it.”

    Lyman started in 1875.
    Chris Craft started in 1881 but were not “Chris Craft” until 1924. Now they built them full time in 1881, but not under that “Chris Craft” name.

    Now another note is – a lot of the “power boating” did start in the Muskokas… Lets not forget history.

  40. matt

    Actually, to be technical, it started in England and Germany! OUCH! The spirit here is about the lifestyle and impact of power boating on the world.

  41. Mr. Andreas Jordahl Rhude

    Bird’s eye view of the factory of Thompson Bros. Boat Mfg. Co. at Peshtigo, Wisconsin. Circa 1955

    See the two story old church/school like looking white building in the bottom foreground? My office is in a single story addition off the back of it. (it was a school house by the way – built soon after the Great Peshtigo Fire of 08 October 1871). Thompson Boat once used that school house building for storage. Talk about history

  42. Mr. Andreas Jordahl Rhude

    I should add that this photo was taken soon after the March 1955 fire that destroyed the large three story complex of Thompson Boat. They had not yet rebuilt any of that complex but many of their other buildings did not burn in the fire.

    My workplace, in addition to the office, is in the lower right hand corner of the picture. That company was formed in 1934 by the Hanisch and Thompson families. The Thompsons were 50% owners until 1962. My father’s paycheck was signed by a Thompson from the time he joined the firm in 1951 until 1962.

    The logs in the upper portion of the photo are destined for pulp at Badger Paper Mills. Forest Products related businesses were and are vital for the lifeblood of Peshtigo.

  43. diane winkles

    Algonac, Chris Craft and ANYTHING to do with that area has a very special meaning to many folks…and unless you were a part of that culture or time era, you may NEVER understand what us folks who DO have those special feelings feel. It’s just that simple. Everyone has a special place that is dear to them for one reason or another. That’s life.

  44. diane winkles

    Algonac, Chris-Craft and anything to do with that area has a special meaning to those of us who were a part of that era. Those people not connected with this area simply will not understand. Everyone has a place somewhere that has a special meaning for them, that’s life. It’s just that simple. For me, this area is the very best.

  45. Joshua Puranen

    I grew up in Algonac so I might be a little bias. I spent many cold springs in my youth samding the boat wi th my family, 28 ft skiff and a 42 Constellation, at Tashmoo on Harsens Island. I worked at a local gas dock off the South Channel and took a 13 foot whaler to work before I could drive a car. If you habe ever seen the Blue Water Area you understand how blue the blue is. If you grew up cutting through the canals and bays you umderstamd the natural beauty that is atil perserved there. Not even billionaire Matty Maroun can buy it.
    There are many boating destinations and historical boating towns. I have always wanted to go to the East Coast to see Cape Hatteras and Egg Harbor City. I have always loved the linea of east coast woodys. As a Domzi owner I am fanatic about the Miami offshore culture and history. It is not that , ich different than Algonac’s history. Replace booze with cocaine, and modernize the boats. Runabouts were there offshore of their day. I would say the bigg3st difference is Algonac has maintained its feel. It is still a small boat town. I habe been to Sandusky, and all the Western Michigan boat towns. Its simply is not comparable.
    There is more than Chris Craft history in Algonac, and they are still building boats here. Pretty nice ones at that ie Sunsation, Mayea, Ocean Express. I can understamd why people mi th t perfer there own personal boating mecca, but Algonac is the birthplace of recreational power boating for the common man. And it is a very unique geographical area being the worlds largest fresh water delta system. Don’t hate until you have cruised the South Channel at sunset on a Sunday in a skiff.

    • Texx

      Thanks Joshua for chiming in – We also love Algonac and the surrounding area, as well as the magnificent waters of the area. – Texx

  46. Dawn Solgot (Cuthbertson)

    Thank you for the fine read and all the responses are Awesome…..I am from.Algonac born and raised. My family owned and operated Cuthbertson Boat Works and worked on Christ Craft boats for along time in Clay Twp…..I love the look of them that’s for sure but also like the look of the fiberglass that is now a common day boat. There is definitely no better place to be raised than on the water!