Boats Made in Holland: A Michigan Tradition

Cover Image (front)Holland’s boat building tradition took root in the 1840s, as Dutch immigrants crafted flatboats and watercraft for residents. Just a century later, the city’s commercial boat building industry flourished.The innovation of fiberglass reinforced plastic changed the traditional structure of boats, revamped the industry and recreated the blueprint for U.S. pleasure boats following World War II. The Roamer Boat Company’s masterfully welded sheet steel cabin cruisers led to the 1955 purchase by the Chris-Craft Corporation to create the Roamer Boat Corporation. Local craftsmen, like the Jesiek brothers, found the transition from furniture building to boat building seamless. But with the success of larger manufacturers, smaller boat shops declined. Geoffrey Reynolds explores the story of Holland’s unique legacy of maritime craftsmanship.

Boats Made in Holland:  A Michigan Tradition is available at:

Reader’s World

Holland Museum

Barnes & Noble

Holland Ace Hardware

Amway Grand Plaza

Schuler Books (Grand Rapids, MI)

McLean and Eakin Bookstore (Petoskey, MI)

The book is available for online purchase from The History Press.

“After Googling Beacon Boat Co. recently, I found your book “Boats Made in Holland. My name is Pam Munkwitz. My dad owned the Beacon when I was in grade school. I haven’t been back to Holland since we moved to Portland, Or. in the early 60’s. So my memories of that time are somewhat foggy. But I do remember the Beacon! I ordered your book and it arrived the other day! I was so happy to see my dad included. Reading that section and seeing the photos really took me back. It also helped put my vague memories into context. My dad, Orville (everyone called him “Munk”) died in ’85. But I know it would make him so happy to see the Beacon included in your history of boat building in Michigan. And thank you for giving me something that solidifies those days a bit for me!


Beacon Boat Company