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Tidbit of Skagit history

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  • Tidbit of Skagit history

    Skagit Plastics (1955-1961 in La Conner, WA.) had many facets to their company in that short period of time. Between the spring and summer seasons with inflated orders coming in from dealers, to the winter months, they tried to smooth out production. Planning back then was as challenging as now to keep good employees all year round. One thing they did was build a line of Chief Milk truck bodies, which Darigold in Mount Vernon placed orders (around 60 units) as well as other milk delivery/dairies around the Northwest. This was a primarily wintertime enterprise from 1958-1961.
    The more prolific project was to build a specialty fishing boat for rental fleets in the Northwest as well. These fleets were located on lakes and Puget Sound, close to 100 of these "fishing resorts" in all (from 1935-1955). Skagit got in on the end of the trend, as the resorts were diminishing with the affluence of the 50's, making boating (which Skagit would benefit from) a more private ownership model.
    More notable locations on Puget Sound for these rental Skagits were Point No Point, Quartermaster Harbor, Gig Harbor, Ray's Boat House (Seattle), Cama Resort (Camano Isl.), Point Defiance, Tacoma. Not all spots had the 14' Skagit boats. But today, you can still rent one at Point Defiance. When you consider these are going on 60 years old, in constant use, I'd say that's a durable product. Posting pics of 14' Skagits from Pt. Def boathouse webpage as well as one for sale on CL.rent-boat_tss.jpgrental-boat-leaving-from-point-defiance_tss.jpg00m0m_bgOqZsrXI4y_600x450.jpgThe one for sale is in Kingston, so maybe it was from Point
    no Point in Hansville, WA. 00707_faeds5y0WLN_600x450.jpg

  • #2
    Thanks Bruce. Its Always fun to here the history of Skagit Plastics.

    It would be interesting to see one of those milk delivery trucks too.

    Any idea of they called that a different division or maybe the name of the trucks?

    I seen the little tug boat Suzi? that was at the Skagit 50th
    I guess they only made one of those too.
    Helmar Joe Johanesen
    1959 Skagit 20ft Offshore, 1959 Skagit 16ft Skimaster,
    1961 17ft Dorsett Catalina.1958 Uniflite 17 ft
    Outboards: 2.5 Bearcats, 3 50hp White shadow Mercs
    2 40hp Johnsons, several smaller Old kickers for a total of 12

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    Oh, and Where is Robin Hood when you need him??

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    • #3
      Skagit made the line called "Chief" truck bodies, and they were only milk truck boxes. They only fit a standard dually wheel short wheelbase chassis, usually a Ford, Chevy or Dodge. The hood and front fenders and front running board were the truck brand, windshield was on the fiberglass body. Somewhere in my video collection I have shots of one as well as the manufacture plate that names the company/division "Chief", in La Conner. Try to dig those out, won't be very good res, 13 years ago anyway.

      Skagit made three tugboats research showed. Steel hull, wood hull and "Susie", fiberglass. Fitting that the only one remaining is fiberglass, I guess. Skagit Plastics was owned by the Dunlap family, of Dunlap Towing. She was sunk at one point near the opening of the Skagit River and was raised by a marina owner, Ken Youngsman,(?) in La Conner and restored. Purchased by Ron Rennebohm and continues to operate it.DSCN3676.JPG

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      • #4
        Did some research into my video archives and sniped these pics off my tv screen, so sorry about the less than perfect quality....Shot in 2004. The tag was located above the right side (passenger) door. The serial number seems to be consistent with how the boats were numbered. The "0" at front of # would indicate 1960, also the year of the truck chassis.
        One quick way to recognize one is the regular steel bodied milk trucks of that era have rivets and staining from rust, which this fg model doesn't have. Don't know if any other company made fg milk truck bodies.
        I inquired if the owner would sell it at the time and he had a big number, as it was still a functioning (refrigerated) unit. Since closed the business and moved to a location on his personal property. Checked last week and not at last known location. Just assume he was connected to a number of other milk delivery companies and has sold to a collector.
        I've only seen four of these trucks, and when they were new, had a chrome "Skagit" script emblem below the window just forward of the doors. On this truck pictured, I found marks on the inside of panel below that side window of the emblem anchor holes. First one I saw was in 1960, Spokane, Wa.FullSizeRender-173.jpgFullSizeRender-174.jpgFullSizeRender-179.jpgFullSizeRender-177.jpgFullSizeRender-176.jpg

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        • #5
          This is a great thread Bruce! Thanks for sharing and keeping a small piece of Washington history alive and well preserved!
          1958 Skagit 20 Express Hardtop
          1958 Skagit 20 Express
          -PNW Craftsmanship


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          • #6
            Thanks for posting this great story, Bruce. I've always heard about Skagit built milk truck bodies, but never seen one. Who would have guessed that milk trucks would become a collectors item? Still a little in disbelief that Gene Dunlap closed up Skagit Plastics when he did! Seems in hindsight, they had it all going for them. Who knows? Looking forward to meeting Jim Dunlap...... Maybe he can shed some light on this topic.
            Captain Tim (McSkagit) Jones 1959 Skagit 31 Saratogan

            http://www.closeencountersecotours.com

            Pay it forward.......take a kid for a boat ride

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