– April 24, 2010
My wonderful wife, Stephanie, stumbled across an event in Manistee, MI. The event was the President’s Tour for the Water Wonderland Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society. Their chapter covers the upper peninsula, all of western, and southern Michigan.
We met at “Station Manistee of the US Coast Guard” for a tour of their facilities where two nice gentlemen told us about there jobs and their role working with the other stations along Lake Michigan. Then we got to check out their 47 foot Motor Life Boat with the self-righting capability. It could all be sealed up with no water getting in anywhere, but apparently, none of the men or women of the station have tested it?
After the tour at the USCG station, we had lunch at the Boathouse Grill which is located across the channel from the original Century Plant when the company was moved to Manistee from Milwaukee.
From the Boathouse Grill we continue on to Don Daneberg’s Boatworks. Don has been repairing, restoring, and building boats for close to 40 years and for the last 20 years he has concentrated his efforts on the restoration of antique and classic boats. One of his current projects was a Chris-Craft 19 foot Barrel Back which will be his upon completion. It was upside down with the bottom removed. Another project in his finish shop was a 25 foot Sportsman with twin engines which has been in the same family since 1961.
We met a lot of new friends and learn lots of cool and interesting things. Gerry and Lynda VandeVusse were very friendly and seemed to be real boaters that used their boats. We also got to meet Chris Smith, son of the original Christopher Smith that founded Chris-Craft. He was surprisingly sharp and could remember all sorts of details from the production days. We also heard something about Mary Smith and that lots of boats carry a variation of her name? There were lots of us Chris-Craft owners in this Century town (sorry, Thomas Holmes), but only one other Garwood owner, Rob Shapton (but he’s got like 3 or so 1941’s?)
All and all, we had a very good time. Don even signed my books.