Hayward, Wisc canoe/boat builders


LOVES Wooden Canoes
My research into a boat firm's history lead me to Hayward, Wisconsin recently. I was surprised to find that there were eight (8) boat and canoe builders in the area during the 20th century. Maybe more. I just found the eight! There are plenty of lakes and streams in the area, so boating and boat building is not unusual. Even mobster Al Capone liked to take holiday in the area!

The firms are: Argalas Boat Building & Repairing (1940-1950s); Badger Boat Builders at Counderay (19__s to 1986); Glas-Star Boat Co (1954-1955); Hayward Boat Co. & later Hayward Boat Mfg. Co. (1930s?-1967?); Lymburner Boat & Mfg. Co.; Northern Wisconsin Boat Co (1949); Peterson Boat Works
(1930s?-1960s?); Sipe Boat Co.

It appears as some of these were spin-offs from the others. John Sipe worked for Lymburner Boat and later departed and formed Sipe Boat Co. with his brother-in-law Wes Hammerel. John Sipe's son was owner of Hayward Boat Mfg. Co. Glas-Star made fiberglass boats and was purchased by Arnold O'Hare in late 1955 and moved to Onarga, IL to become Crownline Boats.

Not sure who of these made canoes, but Hayward and Peterson and Badger all mention canoes as being part of their product line.

This Peterson Boat Works at Hayward was not affiliated with Peterson Bros. Boat Works at nearby Shell Lake, WI.

I'd love to hear from anyone that has ever heard of any of these firms and may have one of their boats/canoes and brochures....

The Sawyer County Historical Society has a beautiful circa 1957 Hayward Boat Co. outboard runabout on display at their museum. There are several Hayward Boat Co. boats at the Fishing Hall of Fame as well.


Hi Andreas. My parents were the last owners of Badger Boats, from 1963 to 1991, when they closed the business. We built canoes from 1966 to at least 1986; a few might have been made after that. They still have a stock of literature around; I've been thinking of scanning it for digital posterity.

During the 1960s and 1970s, some local canoe builders I know about:

Sam Anderson Canoes - a one man shop also in Couderay. His production was probably not more than a few dozen fiberglass canoes.

Chido Canoes - made in Spooner. Another one man fiberglass shop. He built a small square stern canoe, maybe about 12 ft.

There was a company in Cameron that built a variety of fiberglass boats, including canoes. They had a 17 foot half mold design, similar manufacturing approach to that of Forester, Dolphin, Golden Hawk, etc. They went bankrupt in 1969 - my dad and I went to the bankruptcy auction but didn't buy anything. Some years later my folks acquired one of the canoe molds and built a few of these. I don't remember the company name - Glass something or other. Fisher Boats in Sarona made some canoes that might also have been this design.

The 15 foot Badger design made in a split mold was our standard model. We sold about 1,000 of these. The design is now being manufactured by a small fiberglass shop, Fiberglass Reinforced Products, in Exeland, Wisconsin.

Peter Nordgren
Lake Nebagamon, WI
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Greetings Peter,

Great to hear from you. I had breif telephone conversation with your father some months ago. I will visit him one of these dys. Too busy with work and stuff!

I had never heard of Sam Anderson Canoes and Childo Canoes nor Fiberglass Reinforced Products.

The boat builder at Cameron was Span Boats, Inc. Their liquidation auction was on 12 May 1970. The owners were expecting to get $250,000.00 for the tooling and molds, etc... and they got less than $30,000.00. I am writing a history about them as well. Their story is quite the soap opera. Brad Karstaedt of Sheboygan area (son of Chet K. one time president of Span) has been making the old Span canoe with an inboard motor.

Mr. Andreas Jordahl Rhude

Yes, that was Span. One anecdote I remember from the bankruptcy sale: The plug for the canoe design (that is, the pattern from which the molds were made) was purchased by someone who clearly wasn't a boatbuilder. My dad turned to me and said, "That farmer thinks he bought a nice canoe. Wait till he finds out it weighs about 150 pounds."