What Are The Odds Of Finding A 75 Year Old Photo Of Your Antique Boat?
Today we have a great story from fellow Woody Boater Wes Yandt in Spokane, Washington. If you have ever attended a classic boat show in the eastern Washington or northern Idaho area in the last few years, you have no doubt met Wes Yandt and his father Ron. Or if you are planning to attend the big ACBS International event in Coeur d’Alene this September, you will find Wes & Ron hard at work with the host Inland Empire Chapter ACBS.
The venue for the ACBS International show is the spectacular Coeur d’Alene Resort, which is where Yandt Boat Works was originally located. Wes is also the Editor of the Inland Empire Chapter newsletter.
Keeping the tradition of Yandt Boats alive, a few years ago Wes & Ron found and restored a 1963 Yandt 21′ Utility, hauled it down to Lake Tahoe for the 2011 Concours and were awarded a 1st Place in the Utility Class – Quite an achievement for an amateur restoration.
The late Jim McGoldrick wrote a great story on the history of Yandt Boat Works which first appeared in The Real Runabouts Volume VII – Here’s an excerpt: Yandt Boat Works of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho was a small family operation that was started in 1910 by Robert Yandt (Sr.) who was born in Germany in 1882 and who migrated to Minnesota at the age of eight. He grew up there and helped build strip boats until 1907 when he moved to Potlatch, Idaho to work in the lumber mill and then on to Coeur d’Alene as a machine setter for the Blackwell Lumber Company.
By 1910 however, he was devoting most of his time to building boats of all descriptions that were in heavy demand in the young and blooming inland northwest community. From 1919 to the late 1930’s the company was also heavily involved in designing & building speedboats, and racing them.
Yandt’s major thrust, however, was that of building fast runabouts for individuals and for the water taxi trade. Many of the summer residents at Lake Coeur d’Alene had no roads to their choice vacation spots and almost all of the people and supplies moved by boat from the Coeur d’Alene city dock which was the head of ground transportation. Mail and groceries also were delivered by boat. You can Click Here to see Jim’s entire article, which is great!
To serve the people of Lake Coeur d’Alene in the early days, entrepreneur Glen Powell created a “water taxi” company which utilized custom built Yandt boats. People also loved taking speed boat rides on the lake. As the story goes, beginning in 1934 Yandt Boat Works was also a Gar Wood Dealer, and Glen Powell was impressed by the unique styling of the Gar Wood Streamliner with it roomy interior, thinking it would be perfect for selling speed boat rides to his customers. He asked Bob Yandt (Wes Yandt’s Uncle) to build him a purpose built speedboat similar to the stylish Gar Wood Streamliner, and “Skippy Jr” was born.
The Chrysler Crown powered “Skippy Jr” was a big hit back in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s providing popular speed boat rides (Taxi rides) on Lake Coeur d’Alene. When Wes & Ron decided to restore “The Uncle Bob” Wes scoured the Internet, old books, old magazine articles, etc for any vintage photos of Yandt Boat Works and their boats, to learn more about his family connection to his Great Uncle and the company. The photos in today’s story are just a few that Wes was able to locate, but during his search he began to notice photos of “Skippy Jr” Glen Powell’s storied Taxi boat.
However, one photo in particular stuck in his mind, this one (below) of a group of sailors on board “Skippy Jr”. In the early 1940’s sailors stationed up the road in nearby Sandpoint loved to go for speed boat rides during their R&R breaks.
And it appears that particular photo with the sailors on board “Skippy Jr” also inspired someone to create a post card of the area back in the 1940’s.
Matt decided to put his remarkable Photoshop skills to work to prove that the original black & white photo was probably used to create the rendering for the vintage post card. What do you think?
Now – this is where it starts to get crazy. When Ron Yandt visited the 1987 Coeur d’Alene Boat Show he came across a rare Yandt triple forward cockpit and snapped this photo of the boat with his wife Jane along side. I am not sure if Ron knew at the time that this was the original “Skippy Jr” or not. The boat was from the Seattle area and used on Lake Washington.
Fast forward to the summer of 2012 when one day they received a call from the boat’s owner to let them know he was considering selling the boat dues to health problems. Last fall Ron & Wes made a trip to Seattle to have a look at the boat, and it appeared that it needed some work and they decided to think about it for while, almost a year. According to the owner, the Yandt triple was used regularly on Lake Washington (near Seattle) up until 10 years ago, and was even in the water last year. Wes noted that at some point noted restorer Dave Lobb may have worked on the boat in the late 80’s or early 90’s (which is a good thing) when Dave’s shop Northwest Classic Boats was located in the Seattle area. It appeared to still have the original Chrysler Crown 6 and original 1938 V-drive.
After a year of thinking about the boat, Ron & Wes made the decision to buy “Skippy Jr” and bring her back to Spokane near where she was born in 1938. In order to preserve “Skippy Jr” to her original form, it always bothered Wes that he could not find any photos of the boat’s bow, or the original hardware arrangement, etc that was installed in 1938. And we all know how important it is to secure any type of original photographs before moving forward with the preservation work.
Here is what Wes said in his e-mail to us yesterday…
Matt / Texx – Just had to share this “Holy Cow” moment with you guys.
Someone figure out the odds for me. I can’t fathom it.
What are the odds of finding a 75 year old photograph for sale on eBay of your rare one-of-a-kind 75 year old boat, by a guy that has no idea what, where, or when it was taken?
We recently purchased another project boat (I really thought that we were smarter than this but…..). The boat is a 1938 Yandt 23′ Triple Forward Runabout with a Chrysler M2 V-Drive. It was built by my great uncle Bob Yandt on the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene on the same ground that the world famous Coeur d’Alene resort sits today.
Steamboat Captain Glen Powell commissioned the boat for use on the lake as a water taxi. He used it as such for 6 years or so and then sold it to the locally famous Capt John Finney, who used it as a taxi and also as a mail boat.
My family and I learned this boat was in Seattle and for sale last year. We finally got up the nerve to take the plunge about a month ago. The boat is a knock off of the 1937 22′ Garwood Streamliner that Bob Yandt sold to one of his other customers. We have got it home now and are in the process of assessing its needs.
I have about a half dozen photos that I’ve collected over the years of the boat that have proven to be very valuable in determining how the boat originally was configured and what the deck hardware looked like. I did not however have any good photos of the boat from the front.
I was surfing eBay looking for info on old Gar Woods and found this listing yesterday. The guy that was listing it did not know anything about the photo other than the boat looked like an old Gar Wood and that the man in the boat was Glen Powell (must be written on the back of the photo). There is no question that this is our boat and I am sure that this photograph will end up helping solve some of the mysteries. For example the boat is currently configured with a plastic fuel tank under that forward deck. It looked suspicious to me that they would have put the fuel tank there originally but in the photo you can see a rag sticking out of what looks like the filler just forward of the bow light.
I can’t wait to get the photo so that I can really study it and would love to know how this guy ended up with the photo.
If this fate is any indication of how our project is going to go, I can’t wait to get started! – Wes Yandt
Now that’s a great story Wes, thanks for sharing it with us today. Proof again that you just never know what you will find if you look hard enough, or scour eBay. Congratulations on your new boat and good luck moving forward.
Now, that IS a great story. It’s fantastic when all the bits come together (both on and off the boat). Lovin’ the postcard….
On top of all the cosmic karma, Skippy Jr. looks to be a nice boat and I’ll bet she’s fun to drive too!
Thx, texx, another great story about the Yandts. They are as nice as anyone you will meet and having another Yandt boat to restore is fantastic for them. No doubt it will be restored with the same love lavished on Uncle Bob. I hope they put it on display at acbs show next month in cda.
Great story, I’ve noticed that photo on eBay for a long time, I think I even bought a copy. It’s great to know the story behind the photo.
Will we be seeing Uncle Bob or Skippy Jr at the international show this year?
The Uncle Bob will be there for sure but I don’t think that we’ll drag the Skippy Jr over. It would not be in the water and it’s not real pretty to look at yet.
Wes, one of the nice things about static displays is for the “before” boat. No doubt acbs will be back before long to cda where you can show it off in the water in the “after” condition.
Time to buy a lottery ticket!
Great story, Yandts. And no one can pull it all together better than Texx. Guess that means the quest for the Century is on hold for a while. It will be great to see the whole family in one boat all at the same time when she is done. I know Uncle Bob will be in the water at International. Sure would be nice to see Skippy Jr at least on static display.
Wonderful Story and photos-Thanks Texx and Wes
Since the Gar Wood Streamliner was delivered to CDA in May of 1939, is it possible that the Skippy Jr. was built in late 1939 or even 1940? It seems odd that it could pre-date the boat that was delivered there? Thanks
Any chance that there was a Streamliner delivered to CDA prior to #6342? Would you have those records? If not maybe Skippy Jr was not built in ’38 rather later as you suggest.
Thanks for your invaluable input.
#6342 was the one and only Streamliner delivered to CDA. There is no doubt that this delivery photo on the cradle is from May of 1939 because the 19-footer in the photo with the Streamliner was delivered that same May 1939 day on the same rail car.
If Yandt did use the Gar Wood to “copy”, yours would have to be at least a 1939, and more likely a 1940.
The Streamliner prototype and a few 1938 models were built, but none were shipped even in the vicinity of CDA.
If you have the original engine number I can cross-reference the year on that.
ID Tag has M2-4087 on it.
Attached is photo hopefully.
Wes, that M2 Crown was built in approximately February 1939. Hope this helps the timeline.
It helps a great deal. I have to do more research now and find out if the build date was incorrect or the motor was replaced along the line. I have made contact with the daughter of the second owner who had the boat from ~1945 until ~1985 hopefully she has some light to shed on the date. She is very excited about the project because she has very fond memories of the boat.
Thanks for your help Brian. Texx says that you will be in CDA. I look forward to meeting you again and talking about this boat some more.
Great story. Congrats Wes!
I bought a 8 x10 print of that shot on eBay 4 or 5 years ago.
Something about it appealed to me, I guess. I always assumed it was a Gar Wood.
Great story – I know just how one feels when they obtain original photos of their old boat. Below: our Zoomer being built in the Portland warehouse back in 1929….
I am still wondering what Brian Robison eats! And what ever it is, is it a good thing to know those sorts of things.
Just had to come back tonight and read this story again. I do think it is one of the best I have read since I have been following Woodyboater.
Thanks Troy – All I can say is wait until later next week…
This type of stuff is what makes old wooden boats so interesting to me….My buddy Wes (and Pa Ron) are like possesed “Woodie Archaeologists”..I can’t wait to get a ride in that boat! Wow! Go Yandts! “Bone Daddy”
My father once owned the Uncle Bob and we loved the boat then but it is so gratifying to see what you have done with it. My Dad was a wooden boat enthusiast and I can only imagine he could spend hours looking at what you guys did to the boat to restore it once again. At one point I saw some pictures of the restoration and I believe someone from your family or associated with your family only in the last several months contacted my Mom but she lost the contact info. I would like to get in touch again if possible. One of my e-mail’s is email@example.com if for some reason this message gets to you and you can shoot some contact info to me so that we can hopefully connect. I have a a lot of great memories in the boat and in particular a trip from Lake Union to our summer cabin with my just me an my Dad back in the 80’s. There was a great picture taken by Bob Sleem’s family (he and my Dad owned the boat together) of my Dad and I going full speed down a perfectly flat Hood Canal. Unfortunately after Bob passed away as well I have never been able to find the picture.
Hoping to hear from you.
Scott – I will make sure Wes gets this message and I am sure he will soon be in touch with you
Thanks for chiming in.