The following email came in from Herb Pocklington, former top executive at Chris Craft, who said there is precious little in his home town of Algonac to remind people of the world-wide boating legacy started there by the likes of Christopher Columbus Smith, starting the world famous Chris Craft boat line, and Garfield A. Wood, inventor of the hydraulic dump truck and notable boat racer and builder of premium wood boats.
Here is a note from Herb, announcing the start of a movement that will hopefully end with the expansion of the existing museum, get some examples of Chris Craft and Gar Wood boats there, along with some appropriate bronze statues of these two Algonac boys. This not-for-profit Chris Craft Commander Forum, Inc., is pleased to be a part of this effort.
From Herb Pocklington:
"In April I served as the keynote speaker at a Marine Symposium in Seattle
that brought together a number of boating organizations including antique boat clubs,
racing organizations and many others.
As perhaps the oldest living senior executive of Chris-Craft Corporation, I talked about its history,
beginning with Chris Smith and his wonderful family and, as former president of overseas operations,
about its world-wide success and leadership.
Because early history linked the Smiths with speed-boat champion Gar Wood, I provided first-hand reports of Gold Cup and Harmsworth Trophy races.
I was asked questions about Algonac memorials honoring both men and the industry.
The assumption that both their homes were preserved and filled with memorabilia was, of course,
quite logical (a la Greenfield Village for Henry Ford and Menlo Park for Edison).
While praising the very worthwhile effort of the Algonac museum, I was embarrassed to report that these great men's careers are,
perhaps, better remembered and honored elsewhere across the country - for example in Newport News, Virginia,
Seattle, Washington and others.
(BELOW): Here's a photo of a statue of Charley Chaplin looking out to sea (actually Lac Leman) in a
city park in Switzerland
(ABOVE two images side by side): Now, imagine a statue of Christopher C. Smith next to a statue of Gar Wood,
in a new Legends Park looking over their river in Algonac.
We've just begun to form a founding group in Algonac, with hopes to unveil their statues next to a new wing of the waterfront Museum
in the year 2010.....100 years from the date Chris and Gar held their first joint exposition at the
National Motor Boat Show in New York.
Publicity will begin later this year in the premium magazine Southern Boating,
and shortly on the international http://www.ChrisCraftCommander.com Website"
This is a worthy cause, anyone interested in being involved or contributing in any way, please send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll relay the message to the appropriate individuals once this cause catches fire.
ChrisCraftCommander.com forum host
April 10, 2010 Update:
Here we are several months later and the project has certainly gained a LOT of momentum thanks to the vision and ongoing push by Herb Pocklington. The latest report, featured below as the Photo of the Day here on THE FORUM, shows off the great work being done on this worthy project. Follow this entire thread down to the bottom and you will see a chronological listing of the progress, and comments received about this nice bit of history now being cast in bronze. What a fitting material for Chris Smith and Gar Wood!