Benton Co. History: Boat Making Families in Sauk Rapids, Rice
SAUK RAPIDS (WJON News) -- Over the years there have been a few notable boat makers in Benton County.
Historical Society Executive Director Mary Ostby says one of them was William Poganski. He worked at the Sartell Paper Mill for many years while making boats on the side as a hobby. He launched Poganski Boat Works in 1938 and made his hand-crafted wooden boats out of the garage at his home near downtown Sauk Rapids for about 12 years.
He and his wife, he never employed any workers as far as I could find, made these lovely wood cedar strip boats out of their house for many years.
Ostby says he stopped making the boats shortly after his wife died in the early 1950s.
The Benton County Historical Society has one of the router tools he used as well as one of the boats he made in its collection. Ostby is hoping to eventually get it out of storage and put it on display once the renovation of their museum is complete.
Ostby says the Plaziak Brothers were boat builders in Rice during the 1950s. She says they made a variety of different styles of aluminum boats.
They were artisans in their own right because they made a few different boats including a cruiser, a one-man runner, fishing boats, and duck boats. They would make it out of aluminum and use rivets to put the boat together.
Ostby says the Plaziak brothers were construction workers during the summer months and made boats during their off time in the winter.
They made about 230 boats over eight years.
Six of their boats were bought by the owners of the Mississippi Lodge, which became Pirates Cove, for their customers to use on the river.
You can find one of their boats on display at the Minnesota Fishing Museum in Little Falls.
The Benton County Historical Society also has a boat. It is in their storage right now but they plan to display it once the renovation of their museum is complete.
Once a month Ostby comes on the News @ Noon show on WJON and we talk about the forgotten history of Benton County. Ostby says if anyone knows of any other families that made boats commercially for a period in Benton County she'd love for you to tell her about them.
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