Updated History - New Historical Information

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Anonymous

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Updated History - New Historical Information
« on: March 05, 2007, 11:05:27 AM »
John
   I have not been idle since your last letter. Several interesting things have happened as I researched a story about Mark Twain boats.
 
Lee Siebert (not sure of the spelling yet) bought the name Mark Twain Boats from two men in Hannibal Missouri who were unsuccessful in their attempts at boat building.  Siebert was a WWII ace, so the story goes, who also raced boats on the Mississippi.  He was a \"man\'s man\".  For reasons not known, Siebert was interested in relocating his then small operation to Arkansas when Congressman Ken Gray of West Frankfort got wind of it.  Gray, who is also a pilot, took Siebert on a helicopter ride above southern Illinois and showed him the Interstate system which included I-57 which ran past WF and was within 3o miles north and south of I-24 and I-64.  In addition the Army Corps of Engineers had recently completed construction of Rend Lake which was still filling up with water but would eventually become a rather substantial man made lake 12 miles north of West Frankfort.  This, plus the fact that Congressman Gray was also able to offer help in getting some low interest loans, convinced Siebert to stop his Arkansas idea and move to WF.  Mark Twain, as you know, stopped production in or about 1990.  But 4 other boat factories were spun off in the area from people connected with Twain...they are Mariah Boats, Bombardier, Celebrity and Crown Line,
    While doing the research for the story I learned that Gray had been given the first boat ever produced on the Mark Twain assembly line.  Now this is not the first boat made in WF, it is the first Mark Twain boat built, which I assume would have been in Hannibal.  It probably dates from the early 60\'s and is a small wooden (mahogany I am told)  2 seater, outboard,about 10 -12 feet long.  I contacted Gray about seeing this boat and getting a picture of it.  Gray (another story in itself) had the boat in his museum.  The boat, I might add, was also on display at the MT factory in the lobby.  It was parked alongside what ever current model of the year was being produced as sort of a \"then and now\" display.  
Gray had a stroke a couple of years ago which partially paralyzed his right arm.  For some reason he decided to move the boat and some other things from his museum to a storage barn at Rend Lake.  Yesterday, when I had an appointment to see and photograph the boat, Gray learned that the boat is missing.  This came as a complete shock to Gray who had not seen the boat since his stroke and assumed that it was safe and sound in storage.  The other items from the museum were there, but the boat was not in the barn.  If it was ever in the barn, nobody knows.  The craft could have been taken before the other items were moved from Gray\'s museum.  At any rate, this has turned into a rather \"hot\" story for the Southern Illinoisian newspaper.  Nothing has been published yet as we want to get a few more facts. One other thing  I forgot to mention.  My brother in-law was a professional photographer who did work for some of the Mark Twain catalogs.
I have two  unpublished photos of Twain boats.

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bigpoppy

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Updated History - New Historical Information
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2007, 08:01:45 AM »
So do you have plans for these boats?  I have a 77 V-Sonic.  I would love to review the plans or get a copy if possible.

Email me  tsreno@mchsi.com
if it\'s made of wood, I can do it!

The Big Poppy

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Chopstix

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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2007, 06:10:58 PM »
Well damn .... I was hoping that in migrating to the new forum package that you would have lost that green text Poppy !!!  It\'s pretty difficult to read.
\'85 MT Costa Brava 250. 25\' Cruiser (27\' OAL). Twin Merc 488\'s & Alpha Ones.  \"Sea~Renity\"

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bigpoppy

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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2007, 08:55:58 AM »
I changed it for this response, but I don\'t know how to set it up forever.  Maybe Clint can help.
if it\'s made of wood, I can do it!

The Big Poppy