Ole’s back?

Ole's Boat Yard

Ole’s Boat Yard

From our Irish correspondent, this Craig’s list ad:

Indoor storage and repair for classic and antique boats (Wood & Fiberglass).
We also have a showroom for small boats for sale and maritime antiques on consignment in a 1890 Stone Boathouse that has offered repair, storage and marine supplies since the 1930’s by the highly respected Amundsen (Ole & Eric) Family. We also have 230 feet of dockage (tidal) for boats that can sit on the hard at low tide.
Presently reserving space for the winter and spring. Please call to discuss our facility and your needs. Varnish and paint work. Major and Minor repair. Boat Designer, Marine Surveyor, Yacht Brokerage and Charter available, all at one location! New owner/operator with over 40 years experience!!! 561-254-4943 (c)
Interior (duh)

Interior (duh)

This Riverside landmark has sat vacant for quite a while, and so far as I know its owner Erik Amundsen has been unable to find a buyer. Now it appears that someone has leased it (or maybe he bought it; I haven’t seen any record of that, though) and will service boats here again.

That’s great: I wish them all the best of luck and success.
UPDATE: Good history of the building (I thought it was much older than the 1890 age given in this Craig’s list ad, and I was right), and its owners, here.  

At different periods in its long history, the building had functioned as Stephen Clason’s blacksmith shop and later as a steam laundry.

The Amundsens, Tina and Ole, bought the waterfront property on a tidal inlet of Greenwich Cove from the Marks family around 1933 during the Depression. Ole Amundsen was a boat builder and used the first floor of the building of 3,135 square feet to build sail boats and skiffs, some of which may still be afloat today.

Many were one-off designs, but he also built 19-foot Hurricanes of molded plywood in the late 40s and early 50s that were sailed out of the Rocky Point Club, according to his son, Erik Amundsen. He also built small cruising boats up to 34 feet but stopped building when fiberglass boats arrived on the scene.

Erik’s grandfather had sailed on tall ships out of Norway, and Ole became a cabin boy at the age of 11, Erik added. After high school, Ole went to sea on tramp steamers all over the world. Later he emigrated to Brooklyn, where he took courses in marine architecture. By 1933 he was working at a shipyard in Stamford but was laid off and lost the sailboat where he, his wife and his daughter were living.

“With his last bit of money, he bought the Riverside building and turned it into a boatyard,” Erik said.

Ultimately, seven Amundsens lived in the 900 square-foot second floor apartment, but it never seemed cramped, according to Erik.


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Neighborhoods, Riverside, Waterfront

8 responses to “Ole’s back?

  1. Cobra

    I remember Ole and, later, Erik operating Amundsen’s. Honest men, both. Glad to hear the property will once again service the boating community.

  2. Anonymous

    I lived in the refurbished upper apt in the late 90’s, fun little tiny apartment. It was still a running boat yard back then.

  3. Riverside

    That’s great news, and I imagine good news for those of you who live on the creek as well, as my guess would be that the boat traffic in and out of the boatyard over the years has kept the creek from silting up. I wonder if you notice any difference in that regard since the boat yard closed?

    • According to Paul Palmer, who must be around 90 now, his grandfather and other oystermen used to bring their boats to the oyster house next to my house (a few bends up from Ole’s) and those ships were so large that they kept the creek dredged enough to permit navigating it even at low tide. Once the oyster ships went, sadly, the silting in began. I haven’t noticed any extra silting since the yard closed, but (a) it’s a slow process and (b) not much draft on most of the boats that did come down before the closing.

      The Corp of Engineers will never permit the creek to be dredged again, so it’s either bring back the oystermen or accept a slow filling in.

  4. Libertarian Advocate

    Nice story!

  5. Al Dente

    Phone number is a Palm Beach county area code.

  6. sound beacher

    And at the other end of town another “Peter” makes the paper….

  7. You are correct Chris, we have leased the entire ground floor and yard to boat and marina operators for boat storage, sales, repairs, etc. The property, now 100% leased, is still available for sale. Any interested buyer should contact me as I am still the agent.

    BTW. I understand the building was used to manufacture wooden prosthetic limbs and such for veterans of the Civil War, so that does date the front building back to, at least, then.