vintage boats

Making Waves: Michigan’s Boat Building Industry

11:30 AM-12:15 PM

Making Waves: Michigan’s Boat Building Industry, 1865-2000

Scott M. Peters

Sponsored by the Grand Rapids Historical Commission

Michigan’s late-nineteenth century emergence as the boat-building industry’s hub drew together talented designers, builders, and engine makers to produce some of the fastest, most innovative boats ever created. Entrepreneurs like Christopher Columbus Smith, John L. Hacker, and Gar Wood established some of the nation’s top brands and brought the prospect of boat ownership within reach for every American consumer.  Michigan boat builders also left their mark on history—from developing the speedy runabouts favored by Prohibition-era rum-runners to creating the landing craft that carried Allied forces to Europe and the Pacific. Making Waves explores this intriguing story of people, processes, and products—of an industry that evolved in Michigan but would change boating across the world.

This presentation is part of the 2017 History Detectives program on Saturday, January 28, at the Ryerson Auditorium, Grand Rapids Public Library. 10th Annual History Detectives: Sleuthing for Local History

Saturday, January 28, 2017, 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM

 *Limited Seating – Space is limited and seating is offered first come, first served. There will be an overflow room available with a simulcast video presentation.

 Lunch – Reserve ahead of time!

12:15-1:00 PM

Boxed lunches are $10 and must be ordered in advance. Choose a turkey, ham or vegetarian sandwich (or make any of these gluten-free). Also included in the lunches are a fruit cup, pasta salad, cookie, condiments and bottled water. Pop will be available for an additional $1.00.

To reserve a lunch, call 616.988.5492 or email by 5:00 PM on Monday, January 23. Cash payment is due at the event.

Lunches by Cherry Deli; afternoon cookies by Lomonaco Sicilian Cookies. The Kutsche Office of Local History at Grand Valley State University also sponsors History Detectives.


Limited parking is available in the Library parking lot and is free with a validated parking lot ticket.