Museum celebrates additions of rare boats

Three race boats also making their debut

An 18-foot 1934 Gar Wood Runabout was a gift to the museum from Jack and Betty Thomas. (Ross Evavold / Echo Press)

An 18-foot 1934 Gar Wood Runabout was a gift to the museum from Jack and Betty Thomas. (Ross Evavold / Echo Press)

Betty Thomas poses next to one of two boats she donated to the museum with her husband, Jack, who died last year. Thomas was honored at a reception last week. (Ross Evavold / Echo Press)

Betty Thomas poses next to one of two boats she donated to the museum with her husband, Jack, who died last year. Thomas was honored at a reception last week. (Ross Evavold / Echo Press)

One of three new additions to the museum's speedboat collection, this 1926 Hacker Craft did a lot of racing in its time. (Ross Evavold / Echo Press)

One of three new additions to the museum's speedboat collection, this 1926 Hacker Craft did a lot of racing in its time. (Ross Evavold / Echo Press)

Carol Swenson was effusive in her praise of two boats that were recently given to the Legacy of the Lakes Museum, and she has plenty of company.

The boats, a 1934 Gar Wood Runabout and a 1915 Fay & Bowen Launch, were gifts from Jack and Betty Thomas, who donated them last year before Jack died.

"These two very special boats really enhance our collection," Swenson, the museum's executive director, said one night last week at a reception where Betty Thomas was introduced along with the boats.

"Jack really relished giving some history and educating the folks (on these boats)," Thomas told those in attendance June 27. She said he wanted them to be displayed in a museum such as this one in Alexandria so that others could appreciate them. As part of the donation, the couple from Hackensack also bestowed an endowment to cover their upkeep and insurance.

"Boats like these start to take on a life of their own, and inspire others," Swenson said.

Tom Juul, a well-known restorer of wooden boats, and Carl Mammel, a director emeritus on the museum's board, assisted in the transaction, and each spoke during the reception. 

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Source, image(s), credits & more: EchoPress | Ross Evavold