Tuesday, April 25, 2017

On This Date in Minnesota History: April 25

April 25, 1907 – The inventor of the pontoon boat, Ambrose Weeres, was born in Richmond, Minn., on this date.

“In 1951, Ambrose was asked by a friend to create a contraption out of tubes and oil barrels that would float in water. With the assistance of Edwin Torborg, ‘I worked on it and designed the tubes, then a raft, and kept going until I had a boat. The hardest part was making a mount for an outboard motor and designing a steering device.’”

A Weeres Pontoon on a Richmond area lake in 1954.

A modern pontoon boat on Rose Lake, St. Louis County, Minn. (pje)

“The first boat, later christened ‘The Empress’ sold before [Weeres] even had a chance to name it. ‘Mr. Pontoon,’ as [he] came to be known, kept improving on this design and founded Weeres Industries the following year in 1952. In 1955, the Winona Daily News named the Weeres Pontoon Boat ‘Boat of the Year.’

“In a Resolution issued by the Minnesota State Legislature in 1990, Ambrose Weeres was officially recognized as the inventor of the pontoon boat. He was elected to the Minnesota Marina Hall of Fame in July 1991. Weeres is also credited with inventing the first “water bicycle”, or paddle boat in 1956.”


If you are interested in finding out more about your family history in Minnesota, I specialize in researching  genealogical and historical records in Minn. and western Wis., including:
census records,  birth records,  death certificates, obits, grave site photos, ship passenger lists, marriage records and declarations of intent/naturalization records.  I will visit locations to research local history and county records, as well as take photos. Quick turnaround on MNHS records. Both short searches and family history reports available.


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Website:  TheMemoryQuilt.com > click on Family History

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