Welcome To The Jungle! By Brandon Wabeke


Nothing like a sooting soda pop to calm down the monkeys

A huge shout out to fellow Woody Boater Brandon Wabeke for sending in a fun story. I guess one to many Sausage ebay days have made many think, Hey I can do better than that at least. YES YOU CAN! YOU NEED TO READ ON!  This story is amazing. Thanks Brandon for bringing it to us. ALL HAIL ZIP!

Just picked up!

Welcome to the Jungle!
Last year, I set out on a trip from Grand Rapids, MI, down to South Carolina to purchase a 1939 Chris Craft 15.5ft that was in need of restoration. Upon returning home, I was anxiously ready to begin researching as much as I could about this little runabout, which meant no “monkeying around’ and right to work, so I thought. Colonel Tooey

very cool Builder statement

(that’s his real first name not a rank) was the original purchaser of the boat back in 1938. Tooey owned a boat dealership in Geneseo, NY and was proprietor of the tour boat company at Long Point Park on Conesus Lake.

1953 Colonel Tooey

Later on, he felt the need to expand with a new and exciting business venture idea that wasn’t just limited to driving around the lake enjoying the beautiful scenery and sounds of fun.  It became apparent to him that something was indeed missing within his tourist business and that was…..MONKEYS!  He purchased six macaques, traveled down to Florida, released them on small island in the Silver River, and called it Monkey Island to draw tourists to the Jungle Cruise.

Reminder- lake Dora in 49 ish days!

He thought they would stay on the island, but what he didn’t know was that they were really good swimmers that spread quickly to surrounding areas. So much so, that state officials were prompted to wrest control of the situation, but were not completely successful in doing so, even to this day.

Hi Mr Monkey, please don’t rip my arm off!

In the end, we will never really know whether Tooey would choose do it all over again, but what we do know is that he was a fascinating individual with Walt Disney like ideas that had some really cool boats, enjoyed giving others a ride on the lake at the expense of some loose change, and even someone the members of Guns N’ Roses would be proud of.
Now back to Colonol Tooey, This guy is a very very cool dude.

He sold boats and more. LOVE THIS GUY!

One of the Tooey Boats on the water at Conesus Lake NY circa 1937. Tooey rented several speed boats from Long Point. This photo is believed to be of Tooey in his Company Hackercraft.

People relaxing at the Tooey Boats pier at Long Point Park on Conesus Lake NY circa 1937. None of the people are identified. On the right is Weiss’ Hacker and Tooey’s CC RIOT on left.

Boat Rides are a timeless way to encourage folks to love our passion!

A photo of the Tooey Boats and some of the employees at Long Point Park on Conesus Lake NY circa 1937. None of the people in the photo are identified. On the right of the dock is Tooey’s Hacker with the Flash or the Riot ahead of her. On Left is a 33’ Dodge belonging to Tooey as well, believed to be the Master of the Sea. Ahead of that may be the Lee M.

Colonel S. Tooey driving his speedboat Thunderbolt on the waters of Conesus Lake NY circa 1940.

Also a shout out and thanks to Douglas Morgan for granting us permission to share his fun collection of photos. And

Boat information courtesy of Chris Rodman. You can see even more of Tooey’s stuff RIGHT HERE

Like below! UGH… This is gonna consume me now.. Dammit. I have an actual job!

Colonel Tooey driving his 28’ Chris Craft Triple called the Riot on the water at Conesus Lake NY circa 1937. This was one of Tooey’s favorites. BEST GRAPHICS EVER! Great, now I need to find this boat! Where is it?

I wonder if that boat was the inspiration of this post card. Had to have been. Yes I added the Logo on the bull horn for a header a ways back

AND of course now I am looking for RIOT!  Here is a very sweet one  HERE at Sierra Boat Co. But she has her own history.  These are very very cool boats and very iconic.

Some simple graphics? Not as fun as the real history though. We shall dig.

16 replies
  1. Dennis Mykols
    Dennis Mykols says:

    Only three comments at 11:30 am? Everyone must be either out shoveling or stuck in a snow bank, freezing.
    Stay warm my midwestern friends, tomorrow even worse.

    • Brandon Wabeke
      Brandon Wabeke says:

      Brace yourself for artic air Wednesday. It’s been a while since us Michiganders have taken on something this cold. Stay warm!

  2. JennaGal
    JennaGal says:

    I love how the boat was traced back to a really interesting story. These kind of stories are what make Woody Boater fun.

    • Tom Gruenauer
      Tom Gruenauer says:

      Great story Matt!!
      I have been boating on Conesus Lake every summer for the last 10 years and before that on and off as far back as the late 1970’s. A neighbor at the lake is a life long resident, he showed me the home and showroom (both still standing) of Colonel Tooey. There are a lot of great stories on how he promoted the lake.

  3. Jimmy
    Jimmy says:

    This boat on Craigslist several years ago for a very long time eventually. It’s also missing the original three gauge panel that was replaced with a Gray Marine gauge cluster.

  4. Johnny V.
    Johnny V. says:

    My ’56 17′ Sportsman was sold new by Tooey’s. Sounds like he was quite a character……………

  5. Brandon Wabeke
    Brandon Wabeke says:

    Thank you Matt for sharing this story and for unleashing the mystery on the whereabouts of “RIOT”. We need a follow up story on that one.

  6. George Emmanuel
    George Emmanuel says:

    My mother and her brother were performers at Silver Springs in the middle 1930’s and mom did the underwater doubles when they were making the movies there. She doubled for Ann Rutherford. The monkey’s have been an attraction for those cruising the river…..Look, but don’t touch!

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