08 Jun Our Restored Rowboat Floats!
Since January, 2018, seven men have been resorting a century-old, double-pointed rowboat donated to the McFarland Historical Society. Their efforts culminated at the Parks and Trails Unite Festival at McDaniels Park on June 2, 2018 when the boat was put on display and then put into the water. McFarland Historical Society president Dale Marsden rowed and vice-president Ginny Dodson was his passenger. The boat handled well and took in no water.
This rowboat was built at Turville Boat Works on the south shore of Lake Monona. Many of these boats were purchased by the family-owned resorts along lake Waubesa and were rented to tourists and locals for fishing and boating. The rowboats were pointed at both ends because it was before the advent of the outboard motor.
John Wendling purchased the naming rights to the boat and thus contributed financially to its restoration and to the new addition to the museum that was built specifically to house and display the boat. (Many other McFarland residents contributed to this project as well and donations are still being accepted to complete the display.) John named it “Ruthie’s Boat” in memory of his beloved wife who grew up at Larson’s Beach Resort and worked for her father Obed Larson. Obed and his father John O. Larson started the resort in 1906. In 1907 they purchased six double-pointed rowboats from Turville Boat Works for $17 each. Old photos of these boats from Larson’s Beach Resort and other Waubesa resorts were used to aid in the restoration work.
Thanks to Tim Kreft for helping to establish a restoration plan and to our seven dedicated boat restorers: Wes Licht, Dale Marsden, Rod Clark, Lee Ackley, Joe Larson and Mark Finley.