Military Construction of Wooden Boats


Private Ship Builders Performing New Vessel Construction for the Military as of 01 July 1952

Compiled by Andreas Jordahl Rhude

Names such as Chris Craft, Hacker, Roamer, Higgins, Lyman, Elco, and Thompson are familiar to most boating enthusiasts as makers of pleasure craft. However, during times of national conflict and perceived national threat, many pleasure-boat manufacturers patriotically switched gears and made boats for the military. Thompson Brothers made boats and paddles for the Navy during both World Wars. During World War II, a builder on the Minnesota River, south of Minneapolis, made barges for the Navy. Larson Boats of Little Falls, Minnesota also made craft for military use during WWII.

Selected Photos:
Minesweeper built by Peterson Builders, Inc. Sturgeon Bay, WI.
Launching Ceremony of USS Conflict, a wooden minesweeper.
Forward frames of a 57 foot minesweeper.

Following is a partial listing of boat yards that were making vessels for the military in 1952. It is interesting to note that the supposed “commercial” yards were also contracting to make boats and ships for the US Navy, Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force. Remember that this was during the Korean War era.

A complete listing was published by The Boating Industry, a trade paper located at St. Joseph, Michigan as a service to the trade in cooperation with the Bureau of Ships, US Navy. The list identifies the builder, the branch of the military it was built for and the type of vessel.

Chris Craft Corporation, Algonac, MI

  • US Navy – 50′-55′ ARB, 105’ Harbor Picket Boats

  • US Army – Between 1942 – 1945, 12,000 craft e.g. 22’ Aircraft Crash Boats; 30’Target Boats; 42’ Aircraft Rescue Cruisers, 725 30’ LCPR’s (Landing Craft Personnel Ramp), 400 LCV’s (Landing Craft Vehicle)

Henry C. Grebe & Co., Chicago, IL

  • US Navy – 165 foot Auxiliary Mine Sweeper

Hacker Boat Co., Mt. Clemens, MI

  • US Navy – 45′ Picket Boats

  • US Army – 40+’ crash boat, 20’ sedan utility, target boats

Higgins, Inc., New Orleans, LA

  • US Navy – over 25,000 craft : AM & 36′ LCPL (landing craft), PT (patrol torpedo), 54’ MTB (motor torpedo boat)

  • US Army – 70′ Landing Craft LCM, 65′ passenger cargo boats, 100′ harbor tug, & 120′ refrigerated cargo barge

Hodgdon Bros., Goudy & Stevens, Boothbay, ME

  • US Navy – 165 foot Auxiliary Mine Sweeper

Kargard Boat & Engine Co., Marinette, WI

  • US Army – 81′ deck cargo barge

Lake Tahoe Marine & Supply, Lake Tahoe, CA

  • US Navy – 35′ utility boats US Air Force – 33′ utility boats

Matthews Co. – Port Clinton, OH

  • US Navy – 40′ utility boats

Owens Yacht Company, Inc., Baltimore, MD

  • US Navy – MSB

Roamer Boat Company, Holland, MI

  • US Army – 45′ steel harbor tug

Stan-Craft Boat Co., Somer, Montana

  • US Navy – 17′ line handling boats

Century Boat Co.

  • US Navy – 35,000 assault Boats 1941-1947

Thompson Bros. Boat Mfg Co., Peshtigo, WI

  • US Navy – 16′ skiffs

John Trumpy & Son, Inc., Annapolis, MD

  • US Navy – 57’ Mine Sweeping Boat & 50′ utility

Ventnor Marine, West Atlantic City, NJ

  • US Navy 50′ utility boats, 110’ sub chaser US Army – 83’ & 104’ aircraft rescue craft

Gar Wood

  • US Navy – 24’ plane personnel boat

  • US Army – assault & landing craft, tow boat, crash boat utility

Lyman Boat Works

  • US Army Air Force – 33’ plane rearming boats, 24’ plane personnel boats, 17’ live handling boats, 8’ sailing dingies, M-2 assault vessels

Correct Craft Plywood pontoon boats for bridges

ELCO (10) 70’ PT boats, (28) 77’ PT boats, (377) 80’ PT boats

*Meanings of abbreviations for many of the listed vessels are unknown.There are more than 80 types of acronymns.

Alexandria Boat Works Expanding Facilities According to the November 1952 issue of The Boating Industry magazine, Alexandria Boat Works of Alexandria, Minnesota had just completed a building addition to its factory. The new 8,000 square foot expansion was built two and a half miles east of Alexandria on the north side of highway 52. Formed in 1885, the company built boats that were shipped to all parts of North America. At the time of the expansion, Jack Morvold was eldest of the three brothers that ran the company.

Tomahawk Boat Names Manager Tomahawk Boat Manufacturing Company of Tomahawk, Wisconsin named Lloyd G. Mitchell its assistant manager according to the November 1952 issue of The Boating Industry. Mitchell took over the duties of F.P. Winter. Winter would devote his full efforts to future development and general management of the boat building enterprise.