This cruiser was built in North Tonawanda, N.Y. by the Richardson Boat Company. All Richardson cruisers were more or less custom ordered, and built from 1909 to 1962. The hulls of the various models were constructed, and potential owners could browse a brochure, and select the profile of the craft (side image, # of windows, portholes, etc.), and the interior configuration.
(See a copy of the original brochure at the bottom of this page).
The Richardson factory would then build the boats over the fall and winter, and new owners were invited in the spring to pilot their newly acquired cruisers on a 7 day “Sailaway” from North Tonawanda, along the Erie Canal, down the Hudson River, to New York City. These Richardson Sailaways were a popular and festive event along the Canal. Many towns along the way welcomed the Richardson boats, and planned waterfront events, carnivals, and festive events during the boats' overnight stay at their docks.
It was the charm and charisma of the history of these fabulous boats that drew John and Cindy to acquire this Little Giant, and to devote a full two years to giving her a total restoration.
John had spied the boat in a Marina's shop near Peterborough, and 'worked on the owner' to part with it for well over a year. Finally, the timing was right, the elderly owner admitted that such an extensive restoration was, in all probability, not about to happen. The next hurdle was to convince Cindy. Once Cindy read about the history of the Richardson Boat Company she, too, wanted to save this boat, and return it to its original grandeur.
1935, 25ft Richardson Little Giant "Meandering On" (Hendren)
They had also altered the sides of the (exterior) salon, which was the worst area to repair. This alteration had caused quite a bit of dry rot. In July of 1998, the project began.
Photo- as found at marina on Chemong Lake.
It had been in the Marina's shop for well over 18 years, which was its lifesaver. Upon inspection of the Little Giant, John was pleased to discover that most of the hull was in excellent repair, other than a few planks which needed to be replaced. Previous owners, in the 70's, had 'renovated' the interior.... complete with fir plywood helm, cupboards, spindles, shag carpet and 8 track cassette player.