The story of Robert Linn and Park Township’s Yacht Basin

Bay Haven Marina in Park Township

Robert Linn Sr. was an innovator.

He was born in 1910. In 1933, he married Frances Holmes. In the early 1940s, Robert Sr. and Frances and their two boys — David and Robert Jr. — moved from the Eastown area of ​​Grand Rapids to Holland.

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There, Robert Sr. took a job with the Campbell Boat Company, owned by Kenneth Campbell. Campbell, formerly a naval engineer, came from the east coast to start his boat-building company in 1937 near Virginia Park, on land originally developed by EJ Harrington.

There, Campbell made luxury sailboats, speedy “cutters” and wooden powerboats.

Robert Linn (right) during a boat show

In 1946, Robert Sr. struck out on his own. Using Campbell’s facilities, he built steel-hulled boats. His first was a 30-foot cruiser with a mahogany cabin. Frances christened it the “Roamer.”

In 1949, he made a 36-foot patrol boat for the city of Chicago. According to his company’s brochure, Linn could build houseboats, fishing boats, work boats and 33-48-foot cabin cruisers.

AM Deering of Chicago, a naval architect, did design work. Linn also made a boat for the Olson Boat Company of Wisconsin Dells, Roseland Amusement Park in New York, and Wilderness Outfitters in Minnesota. He even gave do-it-yourselfers the option of buying a hull and building their own watercraft.