Calling All Falls Flyers To Lake Darling For The 2013 Minnesota Lakes Boat & Car Reunion

Falls Flyer Inboard

A beautiful and rare 21′ Larson Falls Flyer double cockpit runabout on the water at the 2012 Whitefish Chain Antique & Classic Boat Rendezvous – Photo by Dane Anderson.

After touring the magnificent Mikkelson Collection Museum in 2010 and then seeing the collection of rare Larson Fall Flyers (and other Larson classics) sent to their new homes across the country at the Rich Penn Mikkelson Collection Auction in 2012 – One thought always crossed my mind. It would be so great to once again see these classic boats back in the water, doing what Paul Larson originally designed them to do.

Now, thanks to the nice folks at the Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum in Alexandrea, MN – in July we are going to have an opportunity to once again see these classic Larson boats back on the water, all in one place. However – there’s only one glitch… In order to get as many Falls Flyers and Larson boats together, both from the Mikkelson Collection and from everywhere else, for the event – Bruce Olson and his team at the Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum need to find them. That’s where we come in.

As we can appreciate, when a collection of boats like this is broken up and sold at auction, it’s almost impossible to know where many of them ended up. So we are reaching out to the classic boating community in an attempt to help the museum locate any or all Falls Flyers / Larosns that we know are out there, and invite them to Lake Darling, MN in early July. If you were lucky enough to buy one at the auction, or have one in your boathouse, or have a buddy that owns one – please contact Bruce Olson for more information.

Vintage Falls Flyer - 2

Vintage Falls Flyer doing what it does best on Moonlight Bay, MN. – Dane Anderson photo.

The event that the Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum has planned for July 13th, 2013 will not only include classic boats, but will also include a gathering of classic cars, featuring the iconic Porsche 356. And our intrepid Minnesota correspondent Dane Anderson has confirmed that he will be on hand to cover this great event for Woody Boater – with camera in hand. Here’s the details from Bruce Olson…

Minnesota Lakes Boat & Car Reunion

Hosted by the Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center
Lake Darling – Alexandria, Minnesota


Boat Show: Reuniting Paul Mikkelson with his love of the Falls Flyer’s

Featured Boat – Minnesota built “Falls Flyer”

Honorary Event Chairperson: Paul Mikkelson – Former collector and Larson Falls Flyer historian.

Paul’s passion for the Falls Flyer built by Larson Boats of Little Falls, Minnesota began when he was a high schooler. In 1956 he obtained his first “Flyer” with the help of his father. Since then, its all history; over the years Larson’s seem to attach themselves to Paul! As Paul said during his tours, “According to my dad, if it wasn’t a Larson with a Johnson motor, it wasn’t worth a darn.” – Apparently Paul is a chip off the old man’s block!

Up until the Mikkelson Collection auction in 2012, Paul amassed the largest collection of Falls Flyers in the world, many rare one-off versions from the early days of the marque.

Paul Mikkelson

Life long Falls Flyer / Larson Boat collector & historian Paul Mikkelson during the Rich Penn – Mikkelson Collection Auction last May. (Dane Anderson photo)

A Friday night boat cruise to Captain’s Party held at a private residence on popular The Chain of Lakes.

Show Hours: Saturday 10:00AM – 3:00PM

IMG_8105 - Copy

Classic Larson Thunderhawk at the 2012 Whitefish Chain Antique & Classic Boat Rendezvous – Photos by Dane Anderson

Car Show

Featured Car – Porsche 356

Porsche 356 1800 Super coupe, photographed in Cronulla, New South Wales, Australia.

Porsche 356 1800 Super Coupe – Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Friday afternoon “Tour de Lakes” and reception.

Friday night has indoor display and detail space in the Arrowwood Indoor Tennis enter connected to the Resort.

Show Hours: Saturday 10:00AM – 3:00PM

Event Location:

Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center
Lake Darling, Alexandria Minnesota

Beautiful front lawn and marina with a festive atmosphere, food, refreshments, music & educational seminars are scheduled during the event.


Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center in Lake Darling, Alexandria Minnesota

If you have a connection to Paul Mikkelson, classic Falls Flyers or Larson boats, just like old boats or Porsche 356 sports cars – please consider joining us for this unique event!

Bruce Olson – Museum Director
Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum

We should add that the Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum is also one of the premier classic boating museums in the country, which has a spectactular display of boats, nautical items and collections that reflects the rich boating history of Minnesota – The land of 10,000 lakes.

This promises to be a wonderful event and here at Woody Boater we are proud to be involved. Paul Mikkelson is a first class man who’s passion still burns bright for these very cool boats, and we know he will get excellent support from the Minnesota boating community and the nice folks at the Bob Speltz Land-O-Lake Chapter ACBS as well. Many Chapter members are also members of the MLM Museum.

For more information you can contact Bruce at the museum’s website by Clicking Here or you can contact us by e-mail at and we will be happy to help get you hooked up with Bruce.

You can also find more inforamtion about the Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center here.

Todd and Lewis McGonagle in Repreive 1938 Larson 17' Utility

Todd and Lewis McGonagle in “Repreive” a rare 1938 Larson 17′ Utility – Photos by Dane Anderson

Here’s a brief history of Paul Larson and the Falls Flyer as told by Louis Marine Ltd – an excerpt from “How do you build an American Dream”.

In 1940, Paul Larson patented an idea for a boat that would capture the American heart: the Falls Flyer. This “new, original and ornamental Design for Boats” was a sleek, stylish, modern, wooden wonder with an airplane-like body and cockpit. Most notable was its abbreviated transom, surrounded by a rear deck that sloped to the waterline — still the industry standard for high-performance recreational outboards. But this craft had something more.

Rendered in wood and later, aluminum, the boat always had that intangible quality that arouses a boat-lover’s passion. Today, collectors reminisce about buying an early original, seeing one for the first time, or saving one from a snow bank. “I guess if you wish hard enough, your dreams can indeed come true,” wrote one collector. A lovingly restored Falls Flyer still can turn heads — and steal hearts — today. Although the Falls Flyer was designed to emulate aircraft of its day, the compact shape, rounded lines, and responsive handling suggest a vintage roadster or sports car.

Classic Larson Thunderhawk
1950’s – The new, space-age material — fiberglass — was stronger, lighter, and more watertight than wood. It could be molded into any shape the designer desired. In other words, it was perfect for Larson boats. The company stepped forward as a leader in applying fiberglass technology to pleasure boat manufacturing with the patented Rand Gun. And Larson emerged as a hot national brand name. In the 1950s, Larson introduced numerous flamboyant new designs, including the Cruisemaster, the Pla-Boy, and the Thunderhawk — a two-toned streak with a swooping sheerline and trademark tailfins.

Porsche 356A Cabriolet pictured in London

Porsche 356A Cabriolet pictured in London – Photo courtesy Wikipedia

The Porsche 356 was the company’s first production automobile. It was a lightweight and nimble-handling rear-engine rear-wheel-drive 2-door sports car available in hardtop coupe and open configurations. Design innovations continued during the years of manufacture, contributing to its motorsports success and popularity. Production started in 1948 at Gmünd, Austria, where approximately 50 cars were built.

In 1950 the factory relocated to Zuffenhausen, Germany, and general production of the 356 continued until April 1965, well after the replacement model 911 made its autumn 1963 debut. Of the 76,000 originally produced, approximately half survive. – Courtesy Wikipedea

Larson Utility - 1
Although today is only February 18th (and it’s like a refrigerator outside today) it’s exciting to see that plans are now coming together for the 2013 classic boat show season, and with our fine contributors around the country (and around the world) we will do our best to cover as many of these events as possible starting next month in Florida.

I can hardly wait.


17 replies
  1. RiverRat
    RiverRat says:

    Sorry no help here in the East. I have never seen one in person. There are only 8 listed on antiqueboatamerica, moat in Minn. Good Luck.

  2. 72hornet
    72hornet says:

    I know of three and posssibly four at Lake Okoboji, one is from Paul’s collection and the other two-three are in collections. I will pass the information on. I visited that show a few years back. Great venue with great people! I am planning to attend!

  3. Sean
    Sean says:

    I do like the ol’ Porsches but, I see too many trailer queen 356’s. And, I believe they should be driven….

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      When I was preparing this story earlier this morning, I was recalling how many dedicated 356 collectors I have met in my travels to boat shows & boating related events.

      From Oregon to Idaho to LA to Lake Tahoe to upstate New York to Minnesota to Florida. I even know a guy named Matt Smith in Virginia that knows a thing or two about these old Porsches…

  4. bruce bildsten
    bruce bildsten says:

    I love 356’s. Except that they’re slower than slow. This is an ad I did for Porsche about 25 years ago. It’s still true. And you could replace the word “Porsche” with “Chris Craft”, “Gar Wood”, “Century”, “Hackercraft” and on and on.

  5. Woody Diva
    Woody Diva says:

    No “trailer queen” here. When it’s not WB weather I head out to the church of the open road in my 356! I built this through Swift Engineering in San Clemente CA. Ya…if you are going fiberglass this is the only way to go, they build cars for NASCAR. OMG, did I say fiberglass and NASCAR in the same paragraph, starting to itch. I did all of the research myself on correct tail-lights head-lights, emblems, etc. When I met with Matt we truly bonded over our love of thee ol Speedsters. But mine was built to drive. It’s on a Beck chassis, dual carbs and a VW 1775cc engine. I love to pull up to Starbucks off of Mulholland Drive and all the Harley wimps with there double half calf soy skinny latte’s, circle around and they ask me “your husband let you drive his baby” I just say ….sure and smile to myself.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      There – Another 356 fan to add to my list. Great story Woody Diva.

      (This “Harley Wimp” is getting ready to leave for Florida in a few weeks, via Amelia Island Concours, Daytona Bike Week, Lake Dora, and Key West)

  6. Woody Diva
    Woody Diva says:

    Spelled “their” purposely wrong..just go by our “mantra” there’s no spell check in WB land!

  7. Dr. Hanczaryk
    Dr. Hanczaryk says:

    To whom it may concern,

    Actually, I would appreciate it if this could get passed on to Mr. Patton or to whom ever owns Miss Lindy.

    While searching the internet for a boat I once owned I came across… your thursday, June 14, 2012 Woody Boater article.

    “Miss Lindy made a rare appearance last weekend at Lake Arrowhead.”

    Well there she was in her magnificence after 28 years! The pics were breath taking. She certainly didn’t look like that when I owned her. Which brings me to the purpose of this email.

    Allow me to preface this email with, my correction of the historical record of Miss Lindy wouldn’t be considered for just any classic boat. I have owned a few classics though out the years such as a CC barrel back and a 1941 19′ CC runabout. Our boats took best in our class in Algonac, Blue Water and Hessel. That said, nothing compares to Miss Lindy, she indeed is special, a true rare treasure. Altho I do remember the Maltese Falcon back in the 80’s. She too was a show stopper in Hessel, Mi.

    What I wish to correct is the historical facts regarding the lineage of owners. This is not intended to be self serving. The rare 1937 26 foot Ditchburn Greavette # 50E3453 now known as Miss Lindy was purchased on March 9, 1985 from Pinetree Enterprises for the sum of $10,000 Canadian and brought to the States on April 26, 1985. My bill of sale states that it is a 1938. It was I along with the late Carl Chapell and Lance Wilson that traveled to Orillia, Ontario Canada with an empty trailer and brought her back across the boarder at the Blue Water bridge in Sarnia, Ont / Port huron, Mi. to my home in Grand Blanc, Michigan. There she sat while we contemplated her restoration. I’m sure it was an over site by Mr. Patton but he did not purchase the boat from the Joseph E. Atkinson estate. It is true that the Atkinson family owned her from the time she was built however Mr. Patton purchased her from me.

    I purchased the boat from D.J. (Joe) Charles that represented the Atkinson estate. Perhaps the only significance of this was the fact that the following month, the Ontario government closed the boarder and prevented “National Treasures” from leaving the country. This was perhaps the last “National Treasure” to leave Canada.

    Mr. Patton purchased the now “Miss Lindy” from myself on April 13, 1986.

    I know this is factual and perhaps you could pass this on to Mr. Patton. My intent is not malicious, its just for historical accuracy if that is important. Personally I feel that If there is to be a historical record of this rare treasure then it should reveal the true historical lineage. If Mr. Patton thinks otherwise I’m fine with that. I hesitated to write this but in the final analysis I’m glad I did and what becomes of this history is for others to decide. I’m proud to have owned her for a brief time in history and having brought her to the States. There can only be one runabout like this. Triple cockpits, triple windshields, docking lights and a rumble seat in the back. I recall sitting in her many times on the trailer in my driveway trying to visualize what she would look like some day when she was restored to her original beauty. Your pictures exceeded my imagination!

    My compliments to Mr. Patton on the outstanding restoration. Also compliments to the photographer for depicting her magnificence in your magazine.

    Micheil Hanczaryk, BA, DC

    PS. It is perhaps not known that on her maiden voyage on Lake Ontario, both her engine supports and hull were under designed which caused the engine to fall through the hull and she sunk. Thanks for the wooden hull, so it wasn’t a total submersion. The original cast iron engine on the bottom of Lake Ontario is a Kermath, unsure of the size.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Thanks for the information. Miss Lindy is a spectacular boat in every way. I will make sure this information gets passed along to Mr. Patton.


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