“Owen” Smith To Make An Appearance At The 100 Year Birthday Celebration In Algonac.
Algonac and the St Clair area is a living historical hot bed of our culture. Boats like todays feature boat are tucked away and the lifestyle they embody are alive and still going strong. Longtime fellow pal, and Woody Boater Robert Shapton is the absolute perfect person to have found this extremely special boat. WOW. Here is Roberts story. Enjoy.
This was Owen Smiths boat he ordered in 1937 for hunting and fishing. He added extras like the 6 gauge panel, banjo wheel, dual steering, KO engine(Owen wanted an opposite rotation engine for this particular boat house / docking), spray shield, live well (actually has a tandem water pump linked together, one for the engine and one for the bait box), extra framed step pads, additional ventilators (6) and a custom small cabinet below the deck on the port side for shotgun shells and flyfishing stuff. He called the boat Rusty Bill.
It spent it’s entire life on Harsens Island at one of the Smiths boathouses, which was purchased from the widow I got the boat from, this boat was sold with the cottage.
Tom Ayres rebuilt her in 1986 for the Goodwins, and they named it the TLC. Tom headed the planking department at the CC plant in the day, and tragically drowned shortly after while fishing with his grandson, never knew how to swim.
They frequented the Old Club with it, but never left the island other than a meeting with Chris Smith during the Algonac boat show in 2008 where he confirmed it as a family boat. The boats were ordered by the family but the company owned them
Apparently this boat was forgotten because it stayed on the island, but was well cared for. After years of light use and due to health issues the Goodwins decided to sell, moved to Massachusetts and before the sale the cottage and boathouse was broken into which prompted her to move the boat to Schneider’s Marine down the road for storage. A few neighbors tried to buy it and word was getting out slowly. Folks were sending Delanie checks and a few were pressuring her with bad advice. Luckily she found Jack Rogers (Jeff Rogers dad, 7 years past but still in the boat hobby!) business card in her late husbands file and started a chain of events in which I was able to get her contact.
Her husband had 2 wishes…
1. To be burned in the boat. (She took his ashes and put them in a model he had of this boat and will light them up this summer)
2. To be donated to a museum. This is where Clayton got involved and I thought I was out. I just asked her to have them guarantee they won’t sell or auction the boat, which they wouldn’t so I had to get a trailer quick! With the pics of the dogs and our family, she said I had the boat long ago, she just had to go through her list.
I found and old Loadmaster trailer, bought a Yeswelder and went to town moving the wheel arrangement adding some nice detail and created a suitable trailer for the TLC.
There’s more to it and I’m not a church person but it was close to a religious experience seeing her for the first time and getting to know her at Schneider’s, with my crew,
Jeff Rogers, Bob Vezina and Rob Schantz. They did most of the driving as I was so exhausted from pulling a few all nighters to get the trailer finished.
Just cleaning up the bottom for new paint, installing 2 new bilge pumps, replacing fuel tank sender. Hoping to getting it in the water next week. It’ll be at Algonac, Hessel and Vermont, as well as little shows throughout the state. It’s going to be fun sharing it. Delanie is a fabulous gal! She was ok with me changing the name to Owen.
YOU ALL ARE INVITED TO THE CELEBRATION. This will be the event of the 2022 year. As Biker Jacket said yesterday in the comment section. Algonac is a Museum In the making.
2022 Michigan Chapter Antique & Classic Boat Show
The 100th Anniversary Celebration of Chris Craft
“Where It All Began”
June 24 – June 26, 2022
Algonac Harbour Club, Algonac, Michigan
Leave it to WoodyBoater to tell me about something in Algonac that I was unaware of. That Chris Smith letter is something really special. If the boat was in the Algonac show in 2008, I must have seen her, but don’t remember (another senior moment). I look forward to seeing her again in June and meeting Robert Shapton. Thanks to Robert and Matt for sharing this great story!
Great story! But I’m assuming an original bottom?
Yes, I believe so. 2 biggest expenses, bottom and engine. Engine was rebuilt but Robert Henkel in 2008, and there’s no more than 100 hours on it, and it started after cleaning the points the night we got it home. But the bottom isn’t too bad. I’ve scraped and cleaned all the old caulk and paint out of the seams and will gently caulk and repaint. That should hold for a few years until my new shop is finished and I can do a better assessment off the trailer. It’s solid, we’ll see this week.
The Goodwins renamed the boat during Mr Avers rebuild to the “TLC.” It was a surprise to Delanie as she understood that it was Ed’s boat and he would name her. After the restoration was complete in ‘86 he had a plaque made and dedicated it to her father Thomas L Chastian. Ed and Delaine’s father Tom we’re close and made many fishing trips together in the boat. Tom Avers also explained to the Goodwins it was tradition and not bad luck to rename a boat that passes hand. A delicate conversation I also had with Delanie as I knew how important this vessel was to her. Her response back was “Bob, it’s your damn boat now, name it what ever you and Mary want, just keep the plaque if you will,” which was always my intention. Starting in December Jeff Rodger and I had the pleasure of speaking to Mrs Goodwin, long conversations, sharp as a whip and fabulous stories all wrapped in her beautiful southern accent and speaking style. She was a force. But if she was playing bridge, she practically hung up on you!
Jeff Rogers (ultimately Jack Rogers! Let’s see the pic Jeff!) is really to the guy began the process. Many agonizing days were spent communicating with both Jeff and Rob Schantz as to how this was going to go down, frankly every morning when I walk in the shop I’m amazed it’s here. These two clowns are my troubled support group, it’s great fun!
Bob, did you say “new shop”? Can’t wait to hear about this! Great boat! I look forward to seeing it in person
Cool boat, Great story! The letter really capped off the story. It is always fun to hear stories of these old boats. Especially this one. Thanks for sharing Bob. I hope Chris Smith is in good enough health to attend the 100 year show. I know he is getting up in years, He has not been at the Hessel show in a few years.
Part of the purchase agreement with Delanie was to contact Chris Smith, which I obviously would do anyway, maybe have him sign it somewhere, review it again, get a nice photograph. Chris is always full of great stories. I did contact his som Mark who asked his dad if he wanted to see it again as I was ready to bring it over to Holland anytime. Chris thanked us for the offer, enjoyed all the photographs but just wasn’t up for it. Mark thought maybe he’s seen enough boats in his lifetime. Sweet people. Bittersweet for sure.
Wow this brings shivers to my body……..literally for a number of reasons.
My grandfather, Milt Meier Molly-O’s original owner, was a personal friend of Owen Smith and that is how he acquired Molly-O……….via Owen.
Tom Avers was personal friend of mine and yes he was a wood craftsman of the highest level. My Youngest son Todd actually worked with Tom at Peter Henkel’s Marinas on Harsen’s Island.
There are a few things on this boat that are very similar to my boat, rear steering, and the Fish/live bait box (except mine has what was called a lazy Back) btw it appears to be same exact construction as mine and the only other one that I have ever seen.
The Top or Spray Hood, as CC called it, is the exact style that Molly-O had originally and the only other one that I have ever seen.
Bob Shapton is the Rob Schantz that you mention from Grand Rapids MI and once owned a boat named Tradition?
Yes Rob Schantz is a very close dear friend of mine that owned Tradition. I lean on him and Jeff Rodger’s for advise and we calculate our next moves together. Rob did most of the driving there and back. Actually I was awakened when a GD White Ford passed us on the left hand shoulder on I-96in the driving rain heading home that night towing this gem. Rob did a beautiful job navigating that one. Could have been a much different outcome.
Anyway, yes the fish box has a stand pipe with a screen that can swing upwards to determine the water height in the box, I’ll send a pick. It has its own independent engine driven pump and a thru hull drain. The top I’m told is very rare and I do have the original. The tubular framing is original and Ed had a new top made while Delanie was out of town “He was like that,” and had never see it on the boat, I’ve been sending her pics as I go. The original top is in a bag with specific directions not to discard as it’s one of a very few originals remaining for patterns. When up and fully deployed, it looks like an Orwellian cloth pillbox.
I’m still amazed at how this story unfolded, Bob – and Matt, thanks for sharing it with the greater Woody Boater community. It’s exactly these kinds of stories (behind the boats, of the boat’s history, of her owners, etc.) that makes the vintage boat hobby so unique and worthwhile.
And Bob, regarding your mention about my late father, Jack Rogers, it would have been just like him to have struck up a conversation with Ed Goodwin back in the day at an ACBS boat show somewhere in the country, share stories about each owning the same model Chris Craft, exchange business cards, etc. To think, however, that such a business card – some 15 years later (and after both men were deceased) – would set off such a chain of events leading to this boat now being part of your collection will never cease to amaze me.
On that note, here are a few fond photographic memories of my Dad – one, as he so often was found (with a smile on his face) – and the other, aboard his own 1938 Chris Craft 21′ Deluxe Utility – motoring through the Les Cheneaux Islands en route to the Hessel show one beautiful Saturday morning (on a second Saturday in August).
En route to the Hessel show – on “Christmas morning” in Les Cheneaux…
Vintage boats and generations of family…
And a picture is worth a 1,000 words…
This is all very fascinating! There are so many people on here as regulars, who don’t use real or full names. I would love to meet up at algonac. Can we plan an informal WoodyBoater gathering at some point? Maybe pick a time to meet under the water tower and pass out name tags with your real name and what you post as?
Fish box and pumps…
Now THAT is one hardworking, engine driven water pump!!!!
The best news is that this treasure is now in some of the most capable caretaker’s hands I know.
Fully deployed top
All I can say at this point is, this is all just cool as hell. The people, the stories, the pictures ect. Steve I like your idea of us regular commenters on WB meeting up. Maybe we could share a cold one. Hint Hint Matt you HAVE to come now!
That top is way cool thanks for the pictures,
The fish/bait box is very similar to Molly-O’s but she has a center, fore to aft, brass framed/copper mesh divider. Fish on one side and live bait on the other. And a water pipe with a straight line of drilled holes for water circulation/aeration on the upper inside of the box.
The engine driven water pump is very interesting as I have never seen one and often wondered what it looked like. My box has a brass shutoff valve in the back port side of the box but has NO other plumbing.
Here’s the pipe in the lower position for draining. It appears water is always running through the box and again water level determined by the pipe angle. Looking forward to…
A) work the original system
B) fill with bait and fish
C) create a drop in, no touch, ice chest/mixer and wine bar!
For the record. Today is why I do Woody Boater. I know, between rbay toilet seats and dumb arguments, from time to time. THIS Happens. and it makes it all worth it
Bob I would guess, from your last photo, that the pipe in the upper left in the box is the water inlet pipe for the aeriation system. Is there a pipe running left to right under where the lids hinge ?
Did the rear steering BAR (pipe) come with the boat?
Yes, the pipe on the upper left fills the tank and the one on the right controls water height. Very cool how simple this all works.
The steering bar was there but Rob Schantz believes it’s the wrong one. The one that came with the boat was a solid 1” diameter aluminum rod rounded off, not sure the length. We’re thinking it should be the 1” painted galvanized pipe paint bilge red with a brass round headed cap bolt. Jeff has an original to copy and Rob dropped off a solid old school round headed machine bolt from his family’s hardware from long ago.nice to have friends with resources!!! We’ll put a nice steering bar together for Owen.
Also going through the process of replacing all the Phillips ovals to slotted.
Like this one?
I met Jeff Rodgers years ago when he was ACBS President and had a short conversation about how much time the organization required and how he handled that with family life as we were similar age. I thought how lucky can one person be immersed in this hobby and located in the heart of it all. Very personable young man probably no so young now. Loved this story, had to wait when I had enough time to jump fully into it for full effect. It did not disappoint.
What diameter is the brass ball, 1.25 or 1.5? And what length is yours? Sure is nice looking!
I’ve got one of those pumps. The back half of the pump for filling the fish tank is the size used for the model B.
Victor (or Floydrturbo) – Great to hear from you. It’s been 15+ years since we probably last chatted at an ACBS meeting. Fond memories of those days. I was 36 years old (and single) when I served as ACBS president. Now at 53 – married with two children – I think it’s safe to say that I could never pull off that role now! Vintage boating is such a phenomenal hobby, however, as it matters not the age or stage of life – it’s simply a lifelong passion. Hope to see you out and about this coming season at a boat show, the ACBS annual meeting this fall, etc. Vintage boating regards!
Rudd Arrand had found a prewar build card that requested a under deck locker “like Owens” and this is what they were referring to…
He kept shells dry in here and also used it for fishing stuff.
…Russ Arrand of Cadillac Boat Shop
Spell check fun!