The Last Day Of “Oldies Week” – We Dedicate Today’s Story To Russell A. Kirsch And His Team

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Truant II 1946 - Copy (2)

From Brian Robinson – Here’s a great photo of “Truant II” the 1939 28′ Gar Wood triple which was taken in 1946 with the Houdlette family on Lake Tahoe.

The last day of “Oldies Week” is today (at least for now), and the response from the Woody Boater community was fantastic. It was great to see all the vintage photos and stories from the good old days of classic boating when wooden boats were the norm, not the exception. In fact, this morning as we were preparing today’s story, the vintage photos were still rolling in from around the country. – Texx

By now, you are probably thinking “Who the heck is Russell A. Kirsch?” Well, without him and his crew the “Oldies Week” stories would not have been possible. According to our friends at Wikipedia – The first image scanner developed for use with a computer was a drum scanner. It was built in 1957 at the US National Bureau of Standards by a team led by Russell A. Kirsch. The first image ever scanned on this machine was a 5cm (1.96″) square photograph of Kirsch’s then-three-month-old son, Walden. The black and white image had consisted of just 30,976 pixels, measuring 5 cm × 5 cm. (For more about this significant invention Click Here)

Brian Robinson (wooden boat restorer & research expert) from Robinson Restoration in southern California shared the opening photo and the next two vintage photos from Lake Arrowhead with us today.

1954 19RR Stardust - Copy

This 19′ Chris-Craft Racing Runabout photo with the lady throwing up what looks like a gang sign was labeled “Stardust – delivery 1954” was taken on Lake Arrowhead, CA.

June - Copy

The last one is June Lockhart (Lassie’s mom) in her 1935 16′ Chris-Craft on Lake Arrowhead, CA.

Fellow Woody Boater Floyd R. Turbo dug deep into his sock drawer and sent us the next three vintage photos c/w some interesting history. Floyd’s connection to the world of classic boating is always impressive.

pj cruise a long on trlr

From Floyd R. Turbo – Attached are pictures of my grandfather’s (PJ Brown) Cruise-A-Long vintage 1949 21′ that he owned. Photo is 1957 on the trailer in the backyard for spring preparations before launch.

pj cruise a long sebago

Also from Floyd R. Turbo – Color picture is same boat in the background on Sunset Cove, Frye Island, Sebago Lake, where they rented a lot along with several other boaters (one pictured in foreground). Boaters would build makeshift docks and tent platforms and come up every weekend until a developer purchased the island in the 70’s and turned it into a development.
FYI – Frye Island is a town in Cumberland County, Maine, United States. Located in Sebago Lake, the island is accessed via a public car ferry from Raymond Neck, or by private boat. All residents of the resort town are seasonal.

pjs and jewetts sedan

Last vintage photo from Floyd R. Turbo – This picture is from 1945 of an earlier boat my grandfather (PJ Brown) owned with his brother in law on Sebago Lake. My grandfather worked at the Migis Lodge on the lake and cut timber and ice in the winter. His brother in law was care taker of Camp Wohelo for Camp Fire Girls started by Luther Gulik. Gulick directed James Naismith, a teacher at Springfield College, to create a winter sport to be played indoors (basketball).
Both those lodges still exist on Sebago Lake. Luther’s daugher, Frances Gulik Jewett married one of my grandmothers 9 brothers and wrote a series of books on public health and hygiene regarded as one of the leading publications on those subjects from that time. – Regards, Floyd

Last week when we invited viewers to send us their old boat photos, we received an interesting e-mail from fellow Woody Boater Graeme Beattie. In the late 1990’s he owned a rare wooden boat named “Miss Muskoka” and was interested to know if we had ever run across the boat in our travels. Here’s the story…
Miss Muskoka - 3

From Graeme Beattie – Hi Matt, This boat was built by John Matheson, Boat Builder, Port Carling, Muskoka Lakes, Ontario. It was built to specification by Mr George E. Milbourn of Toronto during the winters of 1931 &1932. She is 32′ long with a width of 8′ and powered by by a 225HP Kermath Sea Wolf engine. George Milbourn is at the helm in the old black and white photo c1935.

Miss Muskoka - 2

A friend of mine found her rotting away on a marine railway at Sandy Point, Lake Simcoe near Orillia, Ontario in 1981. He was able to float the boat to a waiting flatbed truck then put her in storage. I bought her in 1987 and spent 2 years restoring her at Miller-Potter Boat Works in Manotick, Ontario.

Miss Muskoka - 1

In 1998 I sold her to Lee Anderson, Land of Lakes, Minnesota through Todd Warner of Vintage Boat Restoration. Here’s a photo of Todd Warner and I on a test run 1998. I know Todd did some up grading before giving the boat to Lee. Maybe you or one of your reporters have seen her at one of the boat shows. If so I’d like to receive a copy. Thanks.
Graeme Beattie

During our recent trip to Minnesota a few weeks ago, while touring the Lee Anderson Collection in Nisswa, MN – Dane Anderson and I did in fact see “Miss Muskoka” in Lee’s boat house. The huge, perfectly restored runabout was impressive to see, but it was difficult to get a clear shot of her inside the boat house. But we did mange to snap a few shots, which we recently shared with Graeme Beattie, her former owner.

Copy - IMG_0770

Lee Anderson Collection 1

Lee Anderson Collection 2

Today’s header photo came in from fellow Woody Boater Chris Holmes, who is looking for help identifying the year and model of his grandparents old Chris-Craft? The vintage photo was also shot at Nisswa, MN.

From Chris Holmes – This is my grandparents John and Marylss Schaefer of Gull Lake in Nisswa, MN. Not sure of a year or what model Chris-Craft this actually is. Feel free to post on your Oldies section. Any help on the year and model would be great. – Thanks, Chris

More vintage photos from “Classic Minnesota” – Courtesy of Dane Anderson.
File0021 - Copy

From fellow Woody Boater Dane Anderson in Minnesota – My Mom in the middle with her sister and niece visiting the Johnson’s (a private residence on Big Whitefish Bay) on Whitefish Lake, MN early 40s. Note the mail box on the dock, the Whitefish Chain of Lakes had mail service from the late 1930’s.

And to close out “Oldies Week” here on Woody Boater, we are always amazed by today’s technology and how we can bring a vintage photo (or vintage-ish photo) back to life on the old computer. (I think the word “vintage-ish” should be added to the Woody Boater dictionary – Texx)

Bay Lake 1

An old vintage-ish photo of fellow Woody Boater Dane Anderson in his cool, all original 1954 Trojan Sea Queen on Bay Lake, Minnesota. (Circa August)

Bay Lake 2

The same vintage-ish photo “cleaned up” with today’s technology.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to rummage through their stash of family photos or open the old shoe box in the closet to share their vintage photos with us during “Oldies Week” – It was great fun.

Matt & Texx

38 replies
  1. Bob Menzel
    Bob Menzel says:

    Matt & Texx,
    Thank you for putting the oldies stories & images together this past week. Seeing other fellow woodyboaters
    photos of fun times with their families and boats is great and sorta makes one wish for a return to those “simpler” times. I hope this becomes a regular feature of Woodyboater.

  2. Troy
    Troy says:

    I am with Bob! This has been a fantastic week.

    I also don’t know how to express the importance of this site when someone like Graeme can put up a question about an old boat he owned and you can publish new pictures for him to look over.

    Thanks again for all the time and effort you all put in!


  3. matt
    matt says:

    This has been a very fun week for us here. The photos tell a better history than any book could. Todays header is amazing! The shot of the beer chugging with the baby and Floyd R Turbos beer and hourse power shot make me laugh everytime I see it. On Facebook that shot became a fun hit with all that could go wrong in the scene. And Bob your dad was one cool dude and created one heck of a family there. I love the shots that show the pride he had in you guys. Thanks for all your shots. It made the week more fun for sure.

  4. David DeHorn
    David DeHorn says:


    It looks like your grandparents boat is most likely a 17′ deluxe runabout from 1937-1939. Based on the placement of the engine vent, and the cleat on the stern corner, this looks more likely a deluxe runabout, and not the 17’special from 1942 which had 4 engine vents, and no stern cleat. (same hull)

  5. Alex
    Alex says:

    When I learned about Oldies Week, I contacted my brother, who has the family photos my parents took when we were kids. He found a few nice ones of my Dad’s two Chris-Craft cruisers. Both date to the 60s. Since we were born and raised in Ottawa, my Dad kept his boats in Rockport, in the Thousand Islands. I recall my Dad telling me the first was a 38′, which he soon traded in for a 45′. He always spoke with great pride about the 45′. I think I was 7 years old when he sold it. He told me there were two reasons why. The first was a frightening experience he had when he was boating solo with just my brother and me aboard. He was under power and somehow slipped while tending to something on the boat (lines, I believe he said). He barely managed to hang on to the boat without going overboard. The thought of us underway (I was 2 and my brother would have been 5) with him helpless to stop the boat affected him deeply.

    I’m afraid I was the second reason. He told me he and my Mom would barricade me in my room at night so I could not get up and go on deck without their knowledge. Apparently, I managed to get around the barricade early one morning, without a lifejacket. That was it.

    When we were much older, he toyed with buying another boat, but never did. He was passionately dedicated to his work. I believe he didn’t want to take that much time away from it.

    What follows are a few pics of the boats. Named after my brother and me, one was called the “John and Alex,” and the other was called the “John Alex.” I apologize for the blurry first one.

  6. Chuck Crosby
    Chuck Crosby says:

    Matt, Texx, & Woodyboaterville,

    This past ‘oldies week’ has been fun. Unfortunately, I was unable to rumage thru my parents pic’s to share old shots of M&D’s now classic glass Larson with its ever reliable Scott outboard (not) or Aunt Barbara’s Century Resorter.

    My favorite picture of the week was the Century Resorter tied up to the dock at Lake Tahoe….doesn’t it look like the boat is hovering on a lift….but in reality, it is simply sitting on the crystal clear water. It is a magical moment, it usually happens early in the morning when there is no wind or chop.

    2005 picture at Garwood Pier, Lake Tahoe

  7. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Wish we had Alex’s cruiser when I was a kid. That little Cruise-A-Long had the poorest bow design for rough water. It was very “full” and plowed through big waves. One Saturday we were barely above idle making way through “The Cut” a wide channel with Frye Island on our port and Frye’s Leap, an 80 ft precipice on our starboard that channeled the wind off Mt Washington, NH. That’s where the worlds highest wind gust directly measured at the Earth’s surface, 231 mph was recorded. Those winds created waves so high they broke both front cabin windows cutting both my grandmother and aunt with glass while seated in the cabin and washed me over the transom while I was standing on the motor box on 2 seat cushions holding onto the top bow of the cockpit folding canvas top. Seat cushions went over with me. Yea, get me a bigger boat.

  8. Don Ayers
    Don Ayers says:

    Here is the oldest picture I have of our 1959 Riva Ariston. This pic was taken in 1976 when the boat was imported to the US onto a lake in North Carolina. The girl was the owners wife.

  9. brian t
    brian t says:

    I love how someone like David D above can distinguish the model and year of a wood boat in a less than perfect picture of the side of the boat with only a few bits like the step pads and engine vents barely visible.

    That is a very cool picture.

  10. Alex
    Alex says:

    After my brother sent me the pics of our Dad’s boats, I went on a hunt through our family movies to see if there was any old boat-related footage.

    There was so much to go through. But I found two small clips that were special enough for me to share with WB friends.

    Unfortunately, the clips look pretty grainy. They began as Super 8 home movies from the early 70s, were converted to VHS in the late 80s, and then were filmed yesterday with my iPhone and uploaded to Youtube.


    1) Driving the family’s 25′ Sportsman. It was only after looking at this clip over and over again that I realized my Dad was letting me drive! I believe it was my first time taking the wheel of this boat, which would explain why it was being filmed. My reverence of that boat as a kid, and the great times we had in it, is why I own 2 of them today for my family.

    2) My brother and me in “the kid’s boat.” Yes, it’s a Lake ‘n Sea. (We called it “The Fraud.” To this day, I have no idea why, since neither of us knew what fraud meant.) Though the video is very grainy there are several things to note.

    a) I was see-through skinny as a kid.

    b) The fairing of the fiberglass was so appalling, even the graininess of this clip can’t hide it.

    c) It took two to operate the boat. I would steer. My brother would run the gears and throttle. What could possibly go wrong?! Later, when we were a bit older, we traded up from the 9.9 hp shown to a 35 hp. Thankfully, it had remote controls.

    d) We weren’t wearing life jackets. Why, I don’t know…

    e) My Dad was probably operating the camera. (This could explain the brief glance down at the two chicks in bikinis.)

    Where is the Leak ‘n Sink now? We crushed and buried it with a bulldozer in the dump back in the woods. So if anyone is looking for the toughest classic glass project boat ever, its remains await your excavator.

    P.S. Here’s a screen shot I captured of my Dad docking the Sportsman after I drove it. As evidenced by my hands in the air, I was euphoric!

  11. WB Ombudsman
    WB Ombudsman says:

    I question the validity of Alex’s claim that the boat was named after him. It was probably named after the paper boy, who’s name also happened to be Alex. If it was named after “our Alex” it would have been named JackAss, or something.

    Do you really wonder why your dad let you on the boat without a life jacket? Seriously?

    • Alex
      Alex says:

      Someone call the Minneapolis Airport. There’s a sorry a$$ looking dude in the bar there called Mayer who can’t handle his first Michigan beer.

      They’ll recognize him by his photo.

        • MikeM
          MikeM says:

          Woodygal…yes. That’s a pole dance. That was Tavares 2012 and Alex spent the whole week trying to talk me Into going “out” with him. He said he had to have one pole dance while in Florida for spring break.

          I wrote it off to a mid-life crisis, but I also wrote his purchase of the rotting cavalier off to that, too. I’m not sure how many passes he should get before he gets help.

      • brian t
        brian t says:

        Ha – there you go babbling on about that Michigan “beer” again. Please, you cannot merely pump water out of Lake Huron, put it into a bottle and call it beer.

        No wonder why Ol Mikey can’t handle the stuff – he has been spoiled drinking the nectar of the gods that flows from the taps of our many, many stunning craft breweries here in Oregon !

  12. Texx
    Texx says:

    Mike will be easy to spot in the airport, just look for the dude with the 60’s style clothing hanging around the airport lounge…

  13. WoodyGal
    WoodyGal says:

    Our first boat was a 14′ aluminum Larsen, 1940 something with a Johnson 25 Seahorse. Followed by a 1947 Little Blue Rocket. Mother repainted it so the Rocket decal is missing. The old boathouse was built in 1950? Our current boathouse was built in 1967 to accomodate the wider 1965 Thompson Super Thomboy, sorry, no pictures of the lapstrake.

  14. WoodyGal
    WoodyGal says:

    Out for a cruise in the Rocket on Grand Lake of the Cherokees in 1961. The little person being strangled in the backseat by an old orange life jacket is me, mother is at the helm.

  15. Murph
    Murph says:

    Here are a couple pictures of my grandparents on their Chris Craft in Shalimar FL. in the early 60’s.
    This boat is, fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, the reason I have a wood cruiser today.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Thanks Murph – Your photos here make me imagine how great it would have been to stroll the docks in Florida in the early 60’s to see all the cool (now classic) boats.

      I can almost smell the varnish from here.

      Maybe even spot a Rybovich or two down there back in the day…

  16. jeff
    jeff says:

    An early childhood boating memory of mine was our second family boat. It was a 12 ft (shallow draft) aluminum with 6 hp johnson. Me (15 y) friend(14 yr) and brother(12 yr) out on Detroit river. Put boat in grosse ille canal. Drive around island and go to bob- lo island(amusement park) or sometimes go swimming on beaches of small islands near Bob lo. Many times we got caught out in bad rain storms. Always had life jackets seldom if ever did we wear them. Just was t cool back then to be seen wearing a jacket. Now I probably would go out on the river in small of a boat

    • Alex
      Alex says:

      Hey Jeff. Sounds like wonderful childhood fun. I get it.

      But you know, it’s a wonder any of us is alive when you add up all the risks taken in youth, adolescence, college, early adulthood… And I’m not even mentioning parenting!

  17. Grant Stanfield
    Grant Stanfield says:

    Have you ever seen a “Haole Sampan” Sportfisherman?

    Sure you have…name that TV hit!

    (HINT: Three-Hour Tour…A Three-Hour Tour )

    *For EXTRA CREDIT: name the folks on deck!

  18. brian t
    brian t says:

    The First Mate was a mighty shipman, the Skipper brave and sure, A millionaire and his wife, a movie star, and the rest (known as the Professor and Maryanne.)

    (Adjust for inflation – a complete moron, a domineering jackass of a boss, a one percenter and his cash blowing wife, a know-it-all, a Hollywood harlot, and an absolute babe.)

    Oh yes, lovely Maryanne……

    … if not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minnow would be lost, the Minnow would be lost… WAIT – it was lost for chrissakes. Oh well, still a great show and part of my childhood !!

    • Grant Stanfield
      Grant Stanfield says:

      Well done- we have a winner!! Here’s another shot of an actual Haole Sampan beached just like the SS Minnow. They’re still hanging around the boat yards on Oahu’s North Shore and doing charter fishing duty… and they’re built to last, for sure!

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