Thanks to Bob”Have I Got A Calendar For You” Kays for sending in this wonderful story on finding evidence of motorboating in 1914 on Lake Hopatcong!. Its wonderful to see the deep and long history of power boating on such a historic lake! Take it away Bob!
About a year ago, I discover that Chris Craft hull #10 was built in 1924 and delivered to Lake Hopatcong, NJ in 1925 becoming the first known Chris Craft on the lake. You can read about it here
While doing other research, I discovered that a boat built by C. C. Smith arrived on Lake Hopatcong in the summer of 1914! The January 1916 issue of Motorboating magazine reported the following
“Rex Beach, the popular writer of “Going Some” , “the Silver Horde” and other thrilling novels is especially fond of motor boating. When he is not engaged in globetrotting for literary material, Mr. Beach summers at Lake Hopatcong, NJ and here he has “Gretna” a C.C. Smith mahogany hydroplane. It is 20’ 6” long with a 6’ beam and powered by a model B 50-85 hp Sterling engine. Although speed motorboating is a very popular pastime with the Lake Hopatcong colony and the local fleet includes not a few unusually fast boats, Mr. Beach’s craft is declared to have sufficient speed to clean up anything in that part of the country.”
You can read more about Rex Beach here:
This info lead me to this postcard from the Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum collection
Research in the Lake Hopatcong Breeze of August 1914 uncovered that Rex Beach’s boat was delivered in early August of 1914 by the Central Railroad of New Jersey to Nolan’s Point on the lake and was “making fast time within a half hour of being launched” and “the 20’ hydroplane is expected to reach speeds of 40 mph” Even the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported “the latest and fasted boat to arrive at this resort is the new hydroplane “ Gretna” belonging to Rex Beach”
Mr. Beach raced the boat on the Lake and enjoyed his home until he sold the home in 1919. Just before selling the house, the boathouse burned down.
Stanhope Eagle Nov 26 1919
” Backfire from a pumping engine in a boathouse on the Rex Beach property at Lake Hopatcong set fire to the boathouse and three launches a few days ago causing a loss of $5,000.00. ”
At this point I assumed that was the end of the “Gretna”, being consumed by fire.
Until I found the October 1919 issue of Pacific Motor Boat and read the following
“Mr. E.A. Featherstone has purchased a 20’ speed boat” Gretna” formally owned Rex Beach in the east and used by the government during the war”
So the boat was used by the U.S. Government during WWI and then found a home on the west coast.
I don’t know what happen to the boat after that.
C.C. Smith called this boat model Queen Reliance