By Peter Robinson, Allegheny Chapter

In 1957 my uncle Skip purchased a 14-foot, 1957 Larson Falls Flyer for $800. As I understand it, 1955 was the first year Larson built this fiberglass boat. The bubble engine cover, like ours has, was an optional design. Today only three like it survive. 

Our family loved that boat and enjoyed using it on Cheat Lake in West Virginia. Interesting fact: Paul Larson, who founded Larson Boat company, named it after his home town, Little Falls, Minnesota, and his close high school friend, Charles Lindbergh, was the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Thus the name “Falls Flyer.”

This boat was fast for its time. With a 40 hp short shaft Mercury it had a top speed of about 35 mph and, with essentially a flat bottom, was quick to accelerate and plane, giving the impression it was even faster.

Unfortunately, in 1967, when I was in high school, the original Mercury outboard broke a rod and the boat was retired to a shed on the family farm for the next 20 years. I was always interested in getting it back on the water, but, I needed to get through college, get a job and save a little money.

In 1988 I took over stewardship and I decided it was time to clean it up. Other than repainting in the original colors and paint scheme and replacing the outboard motor very little was required.

In 1991, my friend Tony and I took the boat to Little Falls, Minnesota for a factory sponsored Falls Flyer reunion. After all these years I’m still amazed at how people react to seeing the boat  when we take it to shows. Very few have seen one like it before. While my boat is still run on the water, there is one in a museum in Minnesota and one on display at the Boathouse restaurant in Disney Springs, at Disney World in Orlando. Most, if they have seen one before, have seen the sister boat at Disney World.

Today my wife Patty and I continue to take the boat to antique boat shows when possible and it still draws a lot of attention. I plan to pass ownership to the next generation and hope it remains in the family for many more years.

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