L to R - Grant MacLaren, John Lund, John Jenkins, Bill Dailey,
Larry Larkin, Stu Anderson
Not pictured: Don Jugle (deceased)
June 13, 2004 (Launch date + 50 years)
L to R - Grant MacLaren, Bill Dailey, Larry Larkin, John Lund
Not pictured: Don Jugle (deceased), Stu Anderson (deceased), John Jenkins
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The following text was taken from "Full Speed Ahead" by Larry Larkin, published in 1972. (LC 72-80818)
". . . from 1897 until 1902, a succession of fine yachts in wood and steel were created by naval architect George Warrington. The first of these was the Gertrude, built by the Warrington Iron Works in Chicago for E. A. potter. Long considered the prettiest yacht on Lake Geneva (Geneva Lake), she also had the distinction of being the last steam yacht and of operating under steam power more years than any other vessel.
"Constructed of wood, the Gertrude was eighty-two feet long with a thirteen-foot beam. A picturesque clipper bow, and towering masts with gaffs and yardarms led the eye over the impressive size of the vessel. A larger afterdeck and a varnished mahogany cabin provided an air of elegance, while the glossy red smokestack and the gilded figurehead -- a stylized bust of a curvaceous woman with golden trusses intertwined in elaborate arabesques along the bow -- made the Gertrude a memorable sight.
"A two-cylinder high pressure Warrington steam engine developing 125 horsepower at 260 revolutions per minute was installed. Although this was somewhat less power than was used in other comparable yachts, the fine lines of the hull allowed a cruising speed of sixteen miles per hour, and Captain Johnson, her professional captain for thirty-nine years, swore she would reach twenty if you blew i her ear! A small auxiliary steam generator provided electricity for the decorative lights that ringed her deck She was a sturdily built craft, stiffened by two large trusses running the entire length of her hull. After fifty years' use, she showed no sign of hogging or sagging.
"In 1910, the Gertrude was purchased by Henry C. Lytton, founder of Lytton's Department Store, and renamed Garcia. In 1912, when the Lytton home was purchased by Philip K. Wrigley, the vessel was sold to Sidney Smith, the cartoonist who created Andy Gump, and renamed Minerva. Mr Smith used the yacht frequently over the next twenty-five years and became closely identified with the vessel. Upon his death, the yacht was purchased along with the Smith estate by Garnet W. McKee, of Rockford, Illinois.
"Her name was changed once again, this time to Doreen, a name she carried for the next twenty-five years.
"The Doreen was in commission until 1941, when Mr. McKee purchased the yacht Hathor from the estate of Martin Ryerson. At this time, the Doreen was the last operating steam yacht on Lake Geneva. The vessel was then placed in storage until 1946, when she was purchased by Alben Bates, Jr. My Bates removed the steam engine and installed a Lathrop six-cylinder gasoline engine. He used the boat until 1949, when he purchased the Hathor from the McKee estate. The fine old yacht was again put in storage for five more years.
"In the spring of 1954, the Doreen was purchased at a cost of $100.00 by
a group of seven enterprising teenagers: Stuart Anderson, William Dailey, John Jenkins, Don Jugle, Larry Larkin, John Lund, and Grant MacLaren. Unfortunately, the vessel was in a rather sad state of repair; the engine, propeller, steering apparatys, masts, and most of the brass fittings had been removed earlier. All that remained was the once-plush red carpet in the cabin, and a sizable mouse population."
The Doreen's bow, viewed from atop her canopy in the summer of 1954. Notice the broken chock on the port rail. There is a story there -- one of many.
"To raise money to refit the former yacht, a club was formed and memberships sold at $10.00 each. Almost fifty were sold, entitling the member to a place to swim and weekend cruising, as well as a space on deck for a sleeping bag. That turned out to be an excellent arrangement, except for the mice. After making the boat their home during the years she was in storage they never became accustomed to life afloat, and would scamper nightly across the decks amid the sprawled sleepers.
"Within a few weeks, many hands were at work painting, varnishing and polishing. A new steering mechanism was fashioned from a Model T rear axle, and a war-surplus electric generator rejuvenated the lighting system. The lights flickered somewhat, but this enhanced the antique atmosphere. An assortment of furniture materialized from garages and basements and, after launching, a number of large potted plants added style. A wind-up victrola provided music, although Enrico Caruso seemed out of place.
"A well-used 1925 Sterling Sea Gull marine engine was purchased from a dealer who later said, "If I had thought that engine would ever run again, I would never had sold it so cheaply." The engine did have a personality of its own, and required three people to get it running. One person held the large gear shift lever in neutral, a second person operated the spark, throttle and choke levers, and a third person pumped the primer and engaged the starter. Bell signals were tried, but it turned out that shouting instructions in plain language to the engine room crew worked better.
"After launching, the vessel was moored to an old crib about 500 feet from shore. A swimming platform was constructed on the starboard quarter, which also doubled as a landing platform for the row boat. A diving helmet was made from a five-gallon paint can with a plastic window in the side. This was used with a small air pump, for underwater work as well as aquatic strolls along the bottom. As there was almost continuous travel between the yacht and shore, and even the best lungs were strained by trying to shout that far, a ship-to-shore telephone was devised. A telephone wire was run along the bottom of the lake from the mooring to a tree on shore where a telephone was mounted. This allowed the many visitors, who arrived at all hours of the day and night, to call for the row boat for transportation. All in all, an impressive arrangement!
"The end of the summer arrived all too soon, and the yacht had to be sold. this turned out to be the old girl's last fling; the following summer she sank at her mooring."
Photos and text (below) from
"Lake Geneva in Vintage Postcards"
by Smeltzer and Cucco
Click on the Elmhust Press clipping
to read a 1954 article about the Doreen.
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