Gig Harbor in Pierce County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)
A Rich Boat Building Legacy
Boat building was one of the first industries on Gig Harbor's waterfront, beginning with the launch of the Vine in 1890 at the Gig Harbor Mill. More than 140 wooden boats were constructed along the waterfront between 1912 and 1931 at three prominent boatyards: Skansie Ship Building Co. in Millvile, Robert Crawford Shipyard at the head of the bay, and Anderson and Sons Boatyard at this site.
A native of Norway, Conrad Anderson came to the harbor sometime around 1910. He worked at the Skansie shipyard as foreman until he opened his own facility here in 1920. His boatyard built 15 fishing boats, ranging from 36 ft. to 74 ft. in length. Anderson retired in 1937 and his sons continued working at the site until they sold to Art Glein in 1946.
Glein tore down the old structures and built the house and boat facilities that remain today. Glein built and repaired a variety of boats until 1950, when the harbor froze. Boats were unable to access the yard for repairs and Glein's business suffered greatly. He decided to sell out and move to a warmer climate. He sold the business to boat builders Ed Hoppen and Don Harder, who renamed
A major event for the boatyard occurred in 1958 when Hoppen built and launched the Thunderbird Hull No. 1. Designed by Seattle naval architect Ben Seaborn, the T-bird brought in a new era of sailing by providing an affordable alternative to the expensive custom-built sailboats. The product of a sailboat design competition hosted by the Douglas Fir Plywood Company, the boat design was required to accommodate both cruising and racing.
Although Seaborn came up with the initial design concept, it was Hoppen's boat building skill and design knowledge that really created the T-bird. The sailboat's agility and handling surprised both Hoppen and Seaborn during the initial sea trials. The sailboat continues to outperform many of its fiberglass contemporaries.
During construction of T-bird hull #3 Hoppen created a complete set of plans for the do-it-yourself builder. Hoppen continued to build T-birds at his boatyard while hundreds of others were home built. In 1969, the International Thunderbird Class Association was formed to promote T-bird racing and to maintain consistency in the boat's scale and measurements. Thirty fleets worldwide had formed
[Photo captions, top to bottom, read]
Thunderbird Hull No. 1 on eve of launch, November 1958
Boats in for repair at Glein Boat Co.
Anderson & Sons Boatyard. Conrad Anderson is kneeling, second row, second from right
[Timeline at bottom of marker]
1920 - Conrad Anderson opens Anderson & Sons Boatyard
1937 - Conrad Anderson retires: sons run business until they sell to Art Glein
1946 - Glein builds house and new boat facility, opens Glein Boat Co.
1950 - Glein sells to Ed Hoppen and Don Harder, they combine first names to form Eddon Boat Co.
early 1950s - Hoppen becomes sole owner of boatyard
1955 - Eddon Boat Retail Store opens, sells marine paint and hardware
1958 - The Thunderbird sailboat, Hull No. 1, is launched in Nov. at Eddon Boat Co.
1978 - Hoppen retires, sells boatyard to Breck Adams
1980 - Blue Heron Yachts continues tradition of boat building at the site
2003 - Property is sold, buildings to be demolished
2004 - Community rallies against demolition and passes bond with 62% of votes supporting city's purchase of the 1.2 acre property. Vision is to preserve waterfront access, restore buildings, and preserve the boat building heritage through programs and activities
Erected by City of Gig Harbor and Harbor History Museum.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1890.
Location. 47° 20.033′ N, 122° 35.351′ W. Marker is in Gig Harbor, Washington, in Pierce County. Marker is at the intersection of Harborview Drive and Stinson Avenue, on the right when traveling north on Harborview Drive. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3805 Harborview Drive, Gig Harbor WA 98332, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Harvesting the Seas (within shouting distance of this marker); Malich Home (approx. 0.2 miles away); Austin Estuary (approx. Ό mile away); Community Spirit (approx. Ό mile away); The Sehmel Family, Pioneers of the Gig Harbor Peninsula (approx. 0.3 miles away); Two of Our Best on Mount Everest (approx. 0.3 miles away); "Memory Vessel" (approx. 0.3 miles away); Peninsula Light Co. (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gig Harbor.
Also see . . .
1. History of Eddon Boatyard. Gig Harbor BoatShop website entry (Submitted on August 20, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Eddon Boat History . Gig Harbor website entry (Submitted on August 20, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. 100 Years of Boating History. Living Local website entry (Submitted on August 20, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
4. The Revitalization of the Eddon Boatyard. ATP Bulletin PDF (Submitted on August 20, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 7, 2022. It was originally submitted on August 20, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 115 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on August 20, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.