Post Cards From Madden’s On Gull Lake, Minnesota

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TODAY WE ARE FEATURING THE WONDERFUL PHOTOGRAPHY OF BRAD THORNBERG who was on hand for the Woods and Water 2015 show at Gull Lake. Brad attended the show with C. Ben Thuringer – Vice President and Lodge Manager of Madden’s on Gull Lake, the host hotel for the week-long event. Together Brad and Ben give us another perspective of the Woods and Water show, all captured through Brad’s camera lens. – Texx

Post Cards From Madden’s on Gull Lake
Story & Photos by Ben Thuringer / Brad Thornberg

Matt & Texx – I cannot thank the ACBS and wooden boat community enough. The Madden’s team truly enjoyed all of their time with all of the attendees, a very fun group indeed. I thought I would share a couple of photo’s that a friend of mine Brad Thornberg took during the show.

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“Cheerio” the family owned 1940 Chris-Craft Utility resting at the dock at Madden’s on Gull Lake.

“Cheerio” is the Thuringer Family boat. My grandfather discovered this boat under a cabin at Madden’s on the Lake in the late 40’s. It was used by the resort for doing lake tours and pulling water skiers into the 60’s. My father purchased it from my grandfather in the 70’s and restored the boat. It has a nice Gull Lake history.

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It is a 1940 Chris-Craft Utility with the factory sedan option. It has the original Chrysler M powerplant. In the late 90’s Nisswa Classic Boats did a major restoration, the late Harrold at Nisswa has a lot of wood boat history on Gull Lake. He worked for Lee Anderson for several years.

We still use “Cheerio” on Gull Lake and invite our guests to join us for classic boat rides in the summer.

On Friday morning we inched our way up to the boat show at Bar Harbor in the fog, in “Cheerio” the Thuringer Family boat.

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When Brad & I arrived at Bar Harbor on Friday morning it was a beehive of activity as everyone was launching their boats and getting them in position at the docks.

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“Amy Anne” is a spectacular 2010 30-foot runabout designed and built by Morin Boats in Bay City, Michigan.

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Always great to see a classic Century Seamaid.

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“Evangeline” appears through the mist as she navigates towards the dock.

For those of you who may not know, Madden’s on Gull Lake was recently faced with a significant storm which damaged not only the resort, but many other structures in the Gull Lake area.

On July 12th at 6:00pm Gull Lake experienced a storm producing 100+ mph winds, this storm could be compared to a Category II hurricane. Madden’s evacuated the resort and closed for two weeks.

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The nose of “Fin & Tonic” the award winning 1961 Chris-Craft Continental prepares for the show.

With the help of the hard working Madden’s team and local contractors, 65% of the resort and all of its amenities reopened on July 28th. Two of the local contractors that are helping with the project at Maddens are ACBS members and had boats in the show.

For 2016 Maddens will reopen the Wilson Bay side of the property with 90 new rooms and a remodeled Wilson Bay Lodge. Wilson Bay truly is going to be Minnesota’s newest resort. The real blessing is that no one was hurt during this tremendous storm.

The Woods and Water event was a huge economic boost for our area and we were delighted that 65% of Maddens could serve the event. – C. Ben Thuringer, Vice President and Madden Lodge Manager.

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Brad Thornberg captures a great photo of the 400 HP Liberty V-12 in “Apachee II” a legendary 1922 Hacker Gentlemens Race Boat.

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The classic boat owners busy preparing their boats for the judges and spectators.

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Taking care of the finishing touches on Friday morning as the spectators begin to arrive at the Bar Harbor docks.

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Ben Thuringer, Vice President of Madden’s on Gull Lake wiping down “Cheerio” after arriving at the dock.

Then, later that day, after the mist burned off and the glorious sunshine provided some perfect fall weather at Gull Lake, today’s photographer Brad Thornberg jumped in his very cool 1965 PA-18-150 “Super Cub” c/w Aqua 2200 Floats to shoot the event from the air.

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Brad notes: “My Super Cub on floats was parked on a lake just north of the boat show. So I took off before sunset and shot overhead images of Bar Harbor and all the boats at the docks.”

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The Super Cub is a perfect plane for flying around the Gull Lake chain of lakes.

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A shot of Madden’s on Gull Lake with the plane high above in the air.

On Friday evening, Brad captures some spectacular shots of the boat show at the Bar Harbor Supper Club on Gull Lake from high above in his classic Super Cub. The fall colors were wonderful to see. (Not sure where I was during this flight, but I may have to give Brad my cell phone number for my next trip to Gull Lake. I think that Super Cub was the only thing I DIDN’T ride in during the show… – Texx)

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According to our sources, Brad has perfected the way he can shoot photos while flying his Super Cub at the same time. And I thought shooting out of the back of a 17-foot Century in 3-foot chop was tough! – Texx

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As the sun over Gull Lake, Minnesota sets – Brad single-handedly snaps this great shot under the wing of his Super Cub.

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Two classic boats out enjoying a sunset cruise on Gull Lake.

The next day, Brad was back down to earth shooting on the water as the classic boats began to leave from the show docks.

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A great shot of “Tolka” Lee Anderson’s 1929 36-foot Bell Labs Limousine heading back to the Anderson Classic Boats Museum in Nisswa.

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We noticed a Surprise on Saturday afternoon.

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“Surprise” is a beautiful 1927 30-foot Hutchinson Triple.

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Brad captured this great shot of Charlie Underbrink’s outstanding 1956 Chris-Craft 29-foot Sportsman.

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Our friend and fellow Woody Boater Royce Humphreys & crew in his Italian built 1967 Riva Ariston. Always great to see Royce up from Lake Okoboji in Iowa.

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This boat was a monster.


Here is another shot of the Monster that I snapped on Saturday afternoon. It’s named “Sanford” but beyond that we don’t really know what it is, who designed it, her history or when it was built. Guessing it was built approximately 30 years ago. It was once owned (and then sold) by Todd Warner. If anyone has more accurate info on “Sanford”, we would love to learn more about her. It was a cool looking boat on the water, and very active during the boat show giving rides, etc. – Texx

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Our friends and fellow Woody Boaters Del Van Emmerik and Bill Anderson returning from a classic cruise on Saturday afternoon. These guys are pure craftsman and knowledgeable fiberglass boat collectors / restorers. It was great to see them at Gull Lake. – Texx

Bill Anderson

Bill Anderson in his perfect 1958 15-foot Barnes Shark. (Dane Anderson photo)

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Brad snapped this great shot of Del Van Emmerick in his rare, perfectly restored 1959 16-foot Marine Plastic Car Aqua c/w twin McCulloch 45HP outboards.

Special thanks to Ben Thuringer & Brad Thornberg for sharing their great story & photos with us here at Woody Boater today. We appreciate you guys taking the time to put this together for us. – Texx

In closing, over the last few days some folks at the Forum somehow confused Woody (the daily news website) with Wooden Boat Magazine (the monthly magazine). This was in reference to some issues relating to the Mystic Seaport boat show last summer – which was organized by Wooden Boat Magazine (an excellent publication by the way) and the location of the summer ACBS Quarterly Meeting.

Woody Boater had nothing to do with that boat show.

To clarify, here at Woody Boater we love and respect all types of classic boats (and their owners), regardless of what they are made of, or when they were built. Both Matt & I have had or currently own fiberglass classic boats. We have developed excellent relationships with people like Bill Anderson and Del Van Emmerik (shown above in today’s story) and many others around the country.


30 replies
  1. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    The Super Cub is a legendary aircraft for its utility and its special version of pure fun. Sounds like Texx has a good reason to return to Gull lake in 2016.

  2. Reddog
    Reddog says:

    Now those are REALLY GREAT photos A few of these pictures are gonna be my screen wallpaper on my phone . any more info on the Hutchinson boat “surprise”? Todays header photo really is postcard perfect.

    • Aaron Starke
      Aaron Starke says:

      In 1926 MS Merrill contracted Hutchison Boatworks to build a 30ft triple with a custom elongated 2nd cockpit to be delivered in 1927 as a “Surprise” for her husbands birthday Charles E. Merrill. They lived on Round island on the St Lawerence. The boat was delivered with 2ft high gold leaf script on the hull sides. 1926-1927 Hutchinson only built 3 30fters the 2 others Vagabond King and Go Getter known today as Lazy Lady are still afloat and in use on the St Lawerence, I believe.

  3. John U
    John U says:

    Fantastic pictures!. The backdrops in the photo’s are why we put up with the winters here. I heard from two different people who were visiting MN for the first time how they were surprised by it’s beauty.

  4. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Where is Chad? He has been upstaged big time on the quantity, quality, and AUTHENTICITY of the lillies. I think he needs to up his game.

  5. David
    David says:

    Does anyone know anything about the boat above with the caption, ” this boat was a monster?” It looks similar to a boat I saw recently that was a Hacker design built by the Albany Boat Company. They both have what I would consider oversized chines.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      David – I posted another photo of “Sanford” (the Monster) in the above story for you. We can’t locate any accurate information on the boat, but think you may be on the right track re the Albany Boat Company. Hopefully someone will chime in with more info. – Texx

      • David
        David says:

        Thanks Texx,

        There was a boat in Muskegon, MI two summers ago on the hard at Toressen Marine. It looked exactly like this boat, but was in almost gray boat condition without an engine. I am wondering if it is the same boat?? I was told at that time it was a product of the Albany Boat Company. Anyway, would anyone at the ACBS show have any of the registration/owner information?

        • Texx
          Texx says:

          I have all the registration info from the Woods and Water show and couldn’t find anything there. But will keep investigating.

          • Sunday Funday
            Sunday Funday says:

            Sanford was one of my favorites at the show.
            He had it idleing at the dock for a bit on friday morning and i couldn’t walk away. The exhaust pipes looked like they were 6″ in diameter. gave the exhaust a deep musical tone.

  6. Cobourg Kid
    Cobourg Kid says:

    Almost a whole week of wonderful photos , thanks to all of the WB photographers and thank to Texx for clarifying WB’s diversity policy, Wood, Glass, and even steel everything is fair game at WB..

    Speaking of steel, its time to revel my secret passion.

    Attached is shot of my current ride. Built in 1984, she may not be old nor very pretty, but she has other attributes. She bounces off rocks, docks without a dent and shuttles (albeit slowly) a mountain of lumber, appliances, junk and furniture back and forth to a water access cottage all summer long, and does it with aplomb even in the worst weather.

    • Greg Lewandowski
      Greg Lewandowski says:

      CK, I have an old aluminum Jon boat at the cottage that is used in the same way. Every lakefront property has to have a work horse!

    • m-fine
      m-fine says:

      My summer project was getting a 1976 aluminum blue fin row boat setup with a 1976 Johnson 9.9 that had been in storage since the Carter administration. Not fast, and far from pretty but every bit as fun as wood or glass. The main purpose for me is to teach my kids, nieces and cousins who are getting old enough to earn their licenses. The ability to bounce off rocks and docks coupled with low power and manageable speed makes it a perfect solution for the job.

  7. Bill Anderson
    Bill Anderson says:

    I also set them straight on there were not the same as woodyboater on the fiberglassics forum as long with Lee,Don, I will definetly be back to this show next year,we were treated great and a great event,and thanks again for all great pics from every one Bill

  8. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    My internet was out yesterday so I almost missed this GREAT story and all these Phabulous Fotos.

    Learned to fly in my Dad’s PA-18-90 on PK 1800’s so the pic of the sun going down through the struts brings back so many wonderful memories. Did all but one X-Country on floats. That was an interesting experience.

    Actually my deep regret for letting that “Lil Bird” leave the family is what got into this hobby. When Mom started talking about selling her ’57 21′ Continental I was determined to bring her back to her former glory as a long time member of the family.

  9. Jim Morford
    Jim Morford says:

    There was no mention of the beautiful 1961 Cruiser’s Inc. Seafarer 16′ that was towing Surprise. She looks factory original in the picture.

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