Crownline Boats in Onarga

Crownline Boats in Onarga

Posted in the Onarga Forum

boat historian

United States

#1 Jun 12, 2009
Hi all,

Looking for information on CROWBLINE BOATS of Onarga. They were a builder of fiberglass recreational boats in the 1950s and early 1960s.

When did they start making boats? Who were the founders? When did they move from Onarga to Cairo, IL and Why?

Does anyone have old brochures, photos of boats, photos of factory, photos of workers, photos of trucking, newspaper articles/clippings, etc.... Any former workers around to chat with?

I am a writer of articles on classic boats and boating for a non-profit group's magazine. No one, including me, gets paid for doing this research and writing which is all-volunteer work.

Mr. Andreas Jordahl Rhude
email: [email protected]
Seaking86

Valparaiso, IN

#2 Jul 19, 2009
pmarg

Detroit, MI

#3 Aug 18, 2009
I have a crownline boat also .I guess it is late 60's early 70's .I am looking for the same info. All I have is the number from the transom 7190A not sure of last if number or letter . supposed at that time crownline made hulls for thompson fact or fiction?web site Fiberclassics has some brocures and pictures
boat historian wrote:
Hi all,
Looking for information on CROWBLINE BOATS of Onarga. They were a builder of fiberglass recreational boats in the 1950s and early 1960s.
When did they start making boats? Who were the founders? When did they move from Onarga to Cairo, IL and Why?
Does anyone have old brochures, photos of boats, photos of factory, photos of workers, photos of trucking, newspaper articles/clippings, etc.... Any former workers around to chat with?
I am a writer of articles on classic boats and boating for a non-profit group's magazine. No one, including me, gets paid for doing this research and writing which is all-volunteer work.
Mr. Andreas Jordahl Rhude
email: [email protected]
DanB

Blue Island, IL

#4 Sep 14, 2010
boat historian wrote:
Hi all,
Looking for information on CROWBLINE BOATS of Onarga. They were a builder of fiberglass recreational boats in the 1950s and early 1960s.
When did they start making boats? Who were the founders? When did they move from Onarga to Cairo, IL and Why?
Does anyone have old brochures, photos of boats, photos of factory, photos of workers, photos of trucking, newspaper articles/clippings, etc.... Any former workers around to chat with?
I am a writer of articles on classic boats and boating for a non-profit group's magazine. No one, including me, gets paid for doing this research and writing which is all-volunteer work.
Mr. Andreas Jordahl Rhude
email: [email protected]
My Father and Uncle both had Crownline boats, my Dad had a 16 foot with a 1962 40hp Evinrude Lark and my uncle a 17 foot with a 1958 50hp Evinrude I have a 30 second old 8MM of my uncle"s boat I remember my Dad buying his boat at a dealer that was out near what is Naperville IL. today I have tried to contact the New Crownline company but they claim no knowledge of the"old" Crownline. Are you saying they were made in Onarga Il.? Let me know as I'm as very interested in the brand. Thanks Dan
wonderdog

Sun City, CA

#5 Sep 21, 2010
Between Watseka and Crescent City is the old Sea Sprite Boat Company. I remember something about the company being developed off of a fiber glass mold that the owner got from Onarga. always thought the mold was from another boat company.
OLE Evinrude

Blue Island, IL

#6 Sep 21, 2010
wonderdog wrote:
Between Watseka and Crescent City is the old Sea Sprite Boat Company. I remember something about the company being developed off of a fiber glass mold that the owner got from Onarga. always thought the mold was from another boat company.
Yes Crownline statrted in Onarga in 1955 a couple folks that left there in the late 50's started Bee Boats in Paxton Il. who sold boats to a dealer in Indiana called Sea Sprite in time they merged to form Sea Sprite boats. I remember seeing them at the Chicago boat show years ago their styles were always "out of date" for the 80's They of course have been closed for about 10 years.
SloopDonE

Honolulu, HI

#7 Mar 2, 2011
I still have a 1959 crownline 14 ft that I bought in 1979. the boat has been the best all around boat and would never part with it. would love to find the same boat in a 16 ft...
Patrick McKinley

Sturgeon Bay, WI

#8 May 31, 2012
I own a 1959 Crownline 16ft boat my father purchased new. Until about 10 years ago we used it regularly. I believe the trailer was also built by them. The boat is still in very good condition. It has the original accessories including a ski bar. Send me an email if you want any additional information. [email protected]
Steve Warns

United States

#9 Jul 3, 2012
I grew up in Onarga. I always heard that "the old boat factory' burnt down. I was told it sat just north of the grocery store where an empty gravel lot is now.
boat historian

Tomah, WI

#10 Dec 14, 2014
The current Crownline Boat firm in Illinois (2014) has absolutely NO connection with the original Crownline that was located at Onarga, IL and later at Cairo, IL. Not related in any way. The Crownline that started in the 1950s at Onarga did NOT burn down. The had financial troubles and eventually moved to Cairo, IL. They never overcame their money troubles and eventually were seized by the federal government for default on a SBA loan payments. That was in 1965 or 1966.

Look at www.fiberglassics.com in the Glassic Library area for information.
Roger Eacret

Troy, IL

#13 Jul 28, 2016
OLE Evinrude wrote:
<quoted text> Yes Crownline statrted in Onarga in 1955 a couple folks that left there in the late 50's started Bee Boats in Paxton Il. who sold boats to a dealer in Indiana called Sea Sprite in time they merged to form Sea Sprite boats. I remember seeing them at the Chicago boat show years ago their styles were always "out of date" for the 80's They of course have been closed for about 10 years.
The Bee Boat Company was started by my father, LeRoy Eacret in our tractor shed on our farm north of Piper City, IL. His partners were Melvin Redeker and Ray Disken. My father had heart problems and sold out to Mel & Ray in, I believe, 1959. Dad died in June of 1960. I used to put the boat trailers together & since I was just a kid, 10-11, I crawled up under to fore deck to attach the decks to the hull with resin soaked fiberglass strips. The pay was good - Pepsi & Milky Way candy bars - as long as my mom didn't find out.

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