A huge thanks to longtime fellow Woody Boater Walt Stashkiw for this write up of an amazing restoration of Dynamite III. How you restore Dynamite is well, another story. And as you read, if you read it at all. I know you read Woody Boater for the stories. And would you really like to ride around in a boat named after an explosive device? WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG. Then again, maybe it was a clever insurance thing. Well.. Its not like Uncle Al didn’t know it could happen? Okay enough jocularity. Walts got a show to plug. Hit it Walt
The resurrection of DYNAMITE III after 44 years.
People with fond memories of Chippewa Lake Amusement Park in northeast Ohio can no doubt conjure up the echo of the speedboat “Dynamite III” as it roared around the lake, sounding its siren after its first lap. The park was opened in 1875 by an Ohio druggist as a resort and fishing camp. It was eventually evolved into one of the premier amusement parks in the state.
Parker Beach, new owner of the park, purchased by his family in the early 1930’s, put Dynamite III on Chippewa Lake in the early 1950s. It was part of a fleet of watercraft used to offer rides on Chippewa to patrons of Chippewa Lake Park. Other boats that carried passengers were “Miss Chippewa,” a launch that carried approximately 40 riders at a more leisurely pace around the lake, a smaller speedboat called “Firecracker” and rental rowboats most often used for fishing.
Dynamite III, a 1950 Hacker Craft triple, was the last of the “ride Boats” before the park closed for good in 1978. There were two boats before her, A Chris Craft triple and then a Garwood triple, all named Dynamite. Dynamite III was delivered powered by a Scripps V8 engine, when that wore out, it was replaced with a Chrysler Hemi. The last was a Ford Seamaster 534 cu. in. V-8 engine.
In its heyday, Dynamite was an impressive creature at 26 feet in length, 6,000 pounds, with a gleaming deck made of Honduras mahogany. The big Seamaster had a copper exhaust system originally three inches in circumference, but Beach enlarged it to five inches “so it could be heard all over the lake.”
Dynamite III was configured to hold eleven passengers and give park patrons a “white-knuckle” ride around Chippewa Lake and is estimated to have carried over 100,000 passengers in its lifetime until the park closed in 1978. Parker had the third cockpit reconfigured and enlarged to hold more riders. It has since been returned to its original Hacker design.
After more than 100 years of operation, the amusement park joined the ghostly ranks of competitor parks and closed its doors forever. The dance hall lingered and succumbed to fire, rides were sold, trees grew in the midway and the boats were sold at auction. When Chippewa Lake Park closed in 1978, Dynamite was acquired by Bruce Ruessman who found the most recent owner, Guido DeGeronimo, had covered the boat in white paint to match the other park rides. For obvious reasons the first order of business was to strip the paint down to its original finish.
Eventually Ruessman let the project go and Larry Prebis, a member of the North Coast Ohio chapter (NCO) of ACBS, bought Dynamite in 2010. He was happy to receive along with the boat, several tubs of fittings and accessories original to the boat. When Larry unexpectedly passed away, NCO chapter member Gary Kosiba purchased the boat and completed the restoration. After 44 years, and thousands of hours of work, Dynamite returned to the water in July.
Dynamite II will be the feature boat at the 46th annual Portage Lakes Boat Show on August 26 and 27, 2022 in Akron, Ohio. The show will be held at the docks of Picks Restaurant from 9AM to 3PM and offered to the public for free.
Stay tuned. We have some Clayton Kent O. Smith stuff, Steve Lapkin and Steve Natalie from Lake Tahoe. And what ever little explosive that is emailed over. Dang, this is the two weeks of the summer that makes my head spin.