F.A. Hill’s Hankscraft 30’ Launch
In the winter of 1908, F.A. Hill purchased a 30’ Hankscraft Launch at the Chicago Motor Boat Show. According to the Bellaire newspaper on July 16, 1908 “Mr. F.A. Hill’s new launch was launched Saturday. It is the finest boat hereabouts.” Equipped with velvet carpet, wicker chairs, khaki duck cushions, electric head and sailing light, signal horn and two flag poles with flags, the launch represented a distinct type of modern boat.
That same year, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Michigan were campaigning throughout the state for several weeks. In July, they visited Antrim County and spoke to a full house at the Alden town hall. After speaking, the newspaper reported:
The boat was aptly named after his wife Marie, and daughter, Grace Hill.
Here’s where the story gets interesting.
Another newspaper article appears in the Bellaire newspaper on June 30, 1910 announcing the arrival of another new launch for F.A. Hill.
The Crinisus is a launch from Hankscraft Co. as you can see from the photo of the 30’ launch from the Hankscraft Co. (pictured above the postcard of F.A. Hill’s boat in front of his summer home, Hillwood).
This 30-foot Hankscraft Launch’s most noticeable claims to distinction are the concealment of the gasoline motor under the front of the boat and the method of starting the motor without coming in contact with it. This launch is constructed with an automobile canopy top and thus was given the name of “Water Wagon” and cost just under $3,000.
Was the Marie Grace renamed for some reason? Was the Crinisus a whole new launch because the Marie Grace sank or was destroyed somehow? No one in the family seems to know the answer to those questions from 100+ years ago. It seems like a little more research is needed to find out the real story behind the twin boats….
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