Friday, September 22, 2017

When Brown’s Boats Was at the Foot of Columbus Avenue

Worthy R. Brown was born in Port Clinton, Ohio on March 17, 1884. He was the first person to operate charter boats for reel fishing on Lake Erie. He founded Channel Grove Marina in East Harbor, and for many years operated "Sandy Beach," now known as East Harbor State Park. In 1904, Mr. Brown started Worthy Brown & Sons, Inc., which was later known as Brown's Marina. In 1928, he purchased the boats and the route of the Maley Transportation Company. By 1929 Mr. Brown leased space in the G.A. Boeckling building for office use. He changed the company name to Brown’s Boats, Inc. about that time.

The G.A. Boeckling building and dock, originally used for ferries to Cedar Point
 By 1931, Worthy Brown had purchased all the buildings between the Lay Brothers fishery and the east pier, and used the area as a boat docking facility. If you look closely, you can read the words Brown’s Boats, Inc. in the building in the center of the picture below.

For several years, Brown Boats was the local representative for Lyman Boats Works of Sandusky.  A Lyman boat catalog was included in the 1953 WLEC Time Capsule, which was opened in 2003, and is now housed at the Follett House Museum.

Worthy Brown died suddenly on March 31, 1959, and William Brown took over management of the company. A listing in the 1962 Sandusky City Directory states that at that time William R. Brown was the president and manager of Brown’s Boats, Inc. The company was then the distributor in the Lake Erie Islands District for Chris-Craft boats, Johnson Motors, Thompson and Henry outboard motors, marine supplies, and marine sales and service. Brown’s Boats, Inc. ceased operations in 1973. For several years in the 1970s and 1980s, Erie Bay Graphics was located on the site of the former Brown’s Boats. The legal firm of Murray and Murray Co. L.P.A. and Dock of the Bay Marina are now located on the property. For an interesting and detailed history of Brown’s Boats, Inc. see the December 19, 1993 issue of the Sandusky Register, now available on microfilm. The article is on the second front page, in a feature known as “By the Bay.”

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