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Bristol Area Lions Club Learns History of Gamage Shipyard 06/18/2013

Posted by DS in club business, speakers.
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Lion Sy Kagan thanks Steve Morris of the Gamage Shipyard for his presentation on the business.

Lion Sy Kagan thanks Steve Morris of the Gamage Shipyard for his presentation on the business.

For their final program of the year, the Bristol Area Lions Club welcomed Steve Morris, general manager of South Bristol’s Gamage Shipyard, who shared some of the illustrious history of that business.

A boating enthusiast, Steve Morris spent most of his career in management with the R.R. Donnelley and Sons Company. He also founded and ran graphics production company Coolidge Communications in Massachusetts before relocating to Maine in 2002 to manage the Gamage Shipyard.

Established by brothers Albion and Menzies Gamage in 1871, the shipyard has been involved in shipbuilding or marine repair work for nearly 150 years.

Beginning with the construction of schooners and fishing boats, Gamage Shipyard changed in 1911 into a support facility for the Damariscotta Steamship company, owned by family member Elliot Gamage. In 1924, Elliot’s nephew Harvey Gamage transformed the space back into a shipyard, one which became a major force in Maine boat building for the next fifty years.

Under Harvey Gamage, the shipyard turned out recreational sail and power boats, invented the Eastern Style dragger vessel, and built Navy minesweepers, lobster boats and recreational schooners for the tourist trade.

Son Linwood Gamage took over his father’s business in 1976, shifting the shipyard’s focus to recreational boatbuilding and marina maintenance services and storage.

After experiencing a decline in business, Gamage Shipyard came under new ownership in 2000 and has continued to update its facilities to accommodate a growing customer base. A large shed dating to the 1940s came down last year and is being replaced by an energy efficient heated storage building.

All in all, Gamage Shipyard boasts 17,000 square feet of heated storage, 2500 square feet of cold indoor storage, and acre of outdoor boat storage, a 25-ton travel lift, a 44 slip marina, moorings and a fuel dock, and the business maintains and repairs more than 100 boats per year.

In the business meeting that followed Steve Morris’s talk, the Bristol Lions discussed plans for upcoming scholarship fundraisers, including a July 18 Treasures and Treats sale at the Willing Workers’ Hall in New Harbor and the August 10 annual Bristol Lions Golf Tournament and Silent Auction at Wawenock Golf Club.

The next meeting of the Bristol Area Lions Club on June 17 will be the annual meeting and installation of officers. To learn more about the Bristol Area Lions Club, serving Bristol and South Bristol, contact John Janell at 563-7402.


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