The mystery of the ‘Katahdin’

October 21, 2014
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Volunteers from Pentwater’s historical society and service club move a 30-foot, 3,000-pound wooden boat.

Story and photos contributed by Ron Beeber.

PENTWATER — When the Pentwater Historical Society needed to move its largest and heaviest, and one of its oldest donated artifacts, who did it call upon for help?

Not Ghostbusters.

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The “Katahdin” was donated to the Pentwater Historical Society by Garth Larson, owner of Ace Hardware in Hart, whose grandfather purchased her many years ago.

They called in muscle from the Pentwater Service Club to help move the “Katahdin,” (pronounced ka-tah-din) a 30-foot, 3,000-pound wooden boat that resembles, and some say once served as, a tour boat that operated on Pentwater Lake some 100 years ago.  The boat was donated to PHS earlier this year by Garth Larson, owner of Ace Hardware in Hart, whose grandfather purchased her many years ago.

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A total of 18 volunteers from two community organizations joined forces to move the prized artifact from what was once Garth Larson’s grandfather’s barn near Hart, where it sat untouched for nearly 45 years, to Charlie’s Marina in Pentwater. The marina will store the boat until plans for her permanent display by the Pentwater Historical Society are finalized.

A total of 18 volunteers from the two community organizations joined forces to move the prized artifact from what was once Larson’s grandfather’s barn near Hart, where it sat untouched for nearly 45 years. Katahdin’s temporary new home is Charlie’s Marina in Pentwater, which has generously agreed to store the boat until plans for her permanent display by the PHS are put into place.

“The move was a lot trickier than we thought it would be, but we pulled it off in about 90 minutes because of all the volunteers who turned out to help,” said Glenn Beavis of Pentwater, who headed up the planning and execution of the move.

Volunteers who helped move the boat included Doug Bacon, Glenn Beavis,

The Pentwater Historical Society Museum.

The Pentwater Historical Society Museum.

Ron Beeber, Ed Bigelow, Norm Booth, Ron Christians, Chris Dunn, Nick Fekken, Dan Filius, Bill Gardy, Gary Hickman, Jim Howell, Larry Hulburt, Dick Johnson, Dave Kidder, Bruce Koorndyk, Roger MacLeod and Dick Warner.

“We had to carefully slide the Katahdin out of the barn, turn her around, and

This photo of a boat on Pentwater Lake that resembles the Katahdin is displayed on a historical sign board located on the north side of the channel into Pentwater Harbor.

This photo of a boat on Pentwater Lake that resembles the Katahdin is displayed on a historical sign board located on the north side of the channel into Pentwater Harbor.

roll her onto a specially-built trailer without ripping up the bottom of the 100-year-old boat,” Beavis said. “The trailer used was actually fashioned by Doug Bacon of Pentwater from two boat trailers donated by Patterson Marine and West Coast Marine, both of Pentwater.”

“Now we need to find out the history of the Katahdin, and we really hope there are folks out there who can shed light on where she spent her first 50 years,” said PHS President Dick Warner.

As word of Pentwater’s new Historical Museum has spread during the past few months, the PHS has been receiving a steady number of relics donated by people from around the world who have connections to the area.  To learn more about the process for donating items, go to pentwaterhistoricalsociety.org and click on “ways to help.”

The museum is open to visitors on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 1-4 p.m. through October.  In the months that follow, PHS volunteers will continue their behind-the-scenes work before the museum reopens to the public in May of 2015.

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