August 23 – September 30, 2019Vol. 21, No. 12

The Boats of Belgrade: A Little History

by Rod Johnson

The last Guide Ghost story involved an old guide boat that I remembered from my youth. Thanks to our local Franny Dill, we actually have a picture of the old craft — with her grandfather Charles Grant sitting in it. He was in fact the owner and guide that operated the boat for several decades in the 1900s.

This brought me to thinking how many "named" boats there were here over the last 70 years or so. I tested by memory and wrote down as many as would come to mind and, WOW, the number was near 20. I'm sure that I've missed many and that you readers could fill in the gaps. Considering that this is the last issue of Summertime in the Belgrades for the year you'll have all winter to ponder.

Here's the list that I came up with and most of their owners. Named boats seem more memorable for several reasons — names stick in your mind, named boats are often kept by owners for life and they are often remarkable in beauty or condition. You'll need patience as this list is rather long.

Of the boats on the previous list, only four still ply Belgrade waters today: the Happy, the Cocoa, Miss Belgrade, and Miss Lauren.

Whoops, a late entry just popped into mind: The Storcrest, a beautiful, barrel-back Chris Craft of about 17 feet was owned by a Doctor Potter. It was housed in his boathouse in Rome, Maine and was considered one of the prettiest boats on the lake for several decades. I always called her the "Queen of the Waterways."

I have just heard from Summertime editor Esther Perne. She recalls many stories of her grandfather Ernest P. Carr and his boat Nixon, quite possibly an expression of the times, well before the President. The boat was a large Atlantic Dory and used on Great Pond starting around 1920. Esther's mother rode on the bow watching for rocks when her father entered Mill Stream before the stream was heavily dredged in the 1930s. There's much more to this and I'd like to reserve it for the first story of 2020!

Thank you all for following the Luckiest Boy stories in Summertime in the Belgrades during this 2019 season. Hats off to editor Esther Perne and Michael Breault for getting Summertime out every week. It seems hard to believe it's time to say good-bye for 2019, but may we all enjoy the coming fall and winter. Please email me with any omitted named boats at and we will update this list next season.

Happy Fall,

Rod J.,
The Luckiest Boy

Rod Johnson was born and raised in the Belgrade Lakes in the 1950s and '60s.