The Petoskey Boat Company replica is a 14’ rowing boat similar in design to the well-known Whitehall-style boats, which originated in the 1820’s in New York City, if Howard Chapelle’s research is correct. The original boat being re-created by the students was purchased by Mr. John Young’s grandfather in the 1930’s as a used boat, so it is hard to know its true age. It was used by three generations of the Young family on Douglas Lake until placed in protected storage several years ago when it began to deteriorate.
Mr. Young commissioned the school to build an exact replica of the boat, so the starting point for the project is trueing up the boat, taking accurate measurements of the complete boat, which is known as ‘taking off the lines’, then drafting the boat full scale, which is known as ‘lofting’. From the lofting, the boat will be accurately reproduced in every detail, including the woods used, hardware, oars, finishes, etc. Completion is projected for Spring, 2014.
Of interest is the ‘new’ Petoskey Boat Company was founded in 1901 and operated into the 1950’s, as nearly as can be determined. Records of ‘old’ or original company’s origins are lost to us, but it was started sometime in the mid-late 1800’s in Petoskey. A Petoskey resident, Jack Gardner, did revive the name and open a boat shop of the same name in the 1990’s , but it was closed around 2000.