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photograph

Catalog Number
2023.5.1
Description
Black and white photograph showing a Chris-Craft display at a trade show, May 20, 1960.  Photograph taken by Chris Smith, grandson of Chris-Craft founder Christopher Columbus Smith..
History
Chris-Craft founder Christopher Columbus Smith announced in June of 1939 that a boat building plant would be established in Holland, MI. The Chris-Craft headquarters was located in Algonac, MI at that time.
By August 2 of 1939 work began on the plant on 22 acres of land at the corner of Aniline Ave and Douglas Ave. Smith did not live to see the completed plant. He passed away in September of 1939.

A year later Chris-Craft was awarded a contract to build 27 speedboats for the US Armory. The boats were to be used to rescue downed aircraft pilots. In 1942 Chris-Craft would be awarded the Army-Navy E award for wartime production. By this time Chris-Craft had added a third plant in Cadillac, MI. By the end of WW2 Chris-Craft had produced more than 12,000 thirty-six-foot vessels that were used as marine landing craft.

In 1955 Chris-Craft acquired Holland's Roamer Steel Boat Company from Robert Linn. Roamer had been building steel-hulled cabin cruisers since 1946. The following year Chris-Craft built a new plant in Holland on Lakewood Blvd. By 1960 there were 700 employees working on as many as 120 boats at a time.

Eventually labor strife and ongoing financial issues would bring an end to Chris-Craft. Between 1985 and 1989 the Holland plants closed. In 1989 the remaining employees finished building the last boat.
Gift of
Smith, Mark