Hope all is well with you and yours, good comments and undoubtedly accurate. Your comments, however, totally support the notion that something should be done to save, promote, and educate the local population about this heritage. I have been in the museum at Algonac, it was educational, learned a lot. They need space, help, cash, and they're doing their best to carry the flag, but there is so much more that could and should be done.
On the banks of the Cumberland River at Dover, there are confederate shore batteries in place at an historic site that has been saved, and an interpretive center, preserving history that happened at that location and also educating people who may not know all of what happened there (and as a result probably don't care). Without being put there by people with a vision, there would be few kids in the area that would know (or care) what happened there in the past, they wouldn't know there are all thouse cannonballs still on the bottom of the Cumberland River, wouldn't know some of those Union gunboats that were repelled got hit by as many as 60 or more cannon balls.
Ever been to the Morgan building at Clayton? Bill Morgan donated the cash for the building, as I understand it. It may not even be called the Morgan Building now, but in any case, it was his initiative, it is well done in the true Thousand Island boat house style, almost looks like a canoe or lapstrake boat turned upside down from underneath when you look at the wood structure. It's well done. Inside are St. Lawrence sailing skiffs, and as I recall even some of Bill Morgans wood unlimited hydroplanes and motors. A walk through the place gives an appreciation for the culture of the area. Algonac, on essentially the "same river", only a few Great Lakes to the West, has the Chris Craft and Gar Wood racing and boat building dynasty, and it is sort of like my small home town in Pennsylvania, where only the historians know what transpired there in the past. Everyone else is worried that gas is $2.00 per gal, totally oblivious to significant accomplishment in the past. Ignorance is bliss, or at least quite a distraction.
I would agree with Herb, that Algonac could use a nice structure for the museum to expand into, or a totally new facility for that matter. The facility would include a boat house with notable examples of wood Chris Craft boats built in the area, and some Gar Wood boats as well, hopefully some of the MISS AMERICA series that used to be blasting down the river in front of the museum site, and of course, in front of the DYC as well. I wouldn't limit the display to CC and GW, there are others who deserve a piece of the history as well, including Mays Craft. Admittedly, Chris Craft is the dynasty that changed the world when it comes to pleasure boating.
To clear the air, in case anyone is wondering, I as an architect an not chasing a job here, believe me, I have enough work to finish in this lifetime without looking for more things to do. That work can be done nicely by a local person who can drive to the site, maybe I could help in some way, but there won't be any cash coming my way on this endeavor. As far as expressing the need and helping with getting the word out on the street, I'm in. I think it would be great for Algonac to have something that educates kids about what happened in their town, and it would pay respect most of the Chris Craft owners in the world have for the achievement of the company (and personnel who made it happen).
Looking back at the museum grounds at Clayton, New York, they have boat sheds on the grounds, with notable examples housed there, maintained in a sort of "mothball" manner until such time they can be restored. Even as they are, they are VERY interesting artifacts for people like me and you to walk around and look at. Of course, the main building at Clayton is full of beautifully restored boats, many of which are Hutchinson, built right there in town a short way from the museum. That facility does a great job educating the local population about their boating heritage, Algonac has so much more of a heritage.
So these ideas may not go forward, perhaps they'll only result in a couple of bronze statues that serve as a memorial and reminder of significant achievemet in the past. If Algonac is lucky, the idea will result in a larger facility that follows some of the same things that proved to be cost effective and worthwhile at the Antique Boat Museum at Clayton http://www.abm.org/
You'll note the Antique Boat Museum has a program where people can donate artifacts (of which there should be many in the Algonac area), many programs, sponsors, events, etc., and this is a small town that has a rich boating history, but nothing as grand or significant as Algonac !! The local government and management skills (and a lot of cash as well) are what made the Clayton facility what it is today. All those boats are donated, received tax breaks, and they are there for honorable educational purposes.
Actually the GLR (GRAND LADY OF THE RIVER) a large and beautiful Hutchinson commuter, one of the largest boats in the display, belonged to my good friend Dorman Burtch's dad, who was a doctor and made house calls in that boat all around the Thousand Islands. PARDON ME is another Hutchinson at the museum, and Clayton has done a great job preserving the Hutchinson legacy in their small little village. Sure would like to see Algonac do the same, they sure have the history, now they need the leadership, initiative, and the cash to get it budged off dead center. Looking at the challenges Mr. Pocklington has put behind him over the years, don't underestimate what connections, clear thinking, management expertise and leadership can do. I wish him well, and will help if and when I can because I think it is a great idea and a worthy cause. For now, my job is to help get the word out on the street, and that's the reason for the posting. I would hope ACBS on the local and national level would also take an interest in this big part of their membership interest base. After all, if you take Chris Craft (and to a lesser degree, Gar Wood) out of Antique and Classic Boating, there is a rather large void in the hobby, sport, history, and all the cottage industries and events that follow.
Being in Seattle recently at the same venue Herb mentioned, I got a chance to see their "Center for Wood Boats", and it has some of the Clayton mystique, doing better in some ways, not as good in others. Algonac has a foothold, and the potential is great. One thing for sure, they HAVE the history, and untold thousands of boats still revered around the world today, wood, glass, and metal, to prove it.
So many boats, so little time!