Duluth Cup Race of 1911

It was 110 years ago today — Aug. 12, 1911 — that the Minnetonka reached the amazing speed of 30 miles per hour and won the Duluth Cup.

Although Moore Boat Works of Wayzata was eager to brag up the victory on a postcard, the Duluth Herald of Aug. 14 noted disappointment that Duluthian Richard Schell’s boat malfunctioned during the race.

Minnetonka wins race
Schell’s engine goes bad and D. B. C. fails to finish.
Minneapolis boat has easy time with the other entries.

A boat owned by Dick Schell has finally met defeat. The feat was accomplished Saturday by the Minnetonka, the forty-foot boat built by R. C. Moore of Wayzata, owned by L. G. Scribner and driven by A. C. Bennett. The defeat was one that still leaves a doubt of the superior speed of the Minneapolis boat, however, as the D. B. C. went bad after the first leg of the first lap had been completed, and after that the Schell boat was out of the race.

The Cecil L., the little hydroplane owned by Louis Williams of Superior, was second, and the Little Bob, owned by Julius H. Barnes, and driven by “Bill” Jones, finished third. Dick Schell’s boat failed to finish.

The large crowd at the club thought at last Duluth was to witness a motor boat race worthy of the name and one that would be close. All four of the entrants got off together and it looked like a close and exciting test of speed between Schell and Bennett in the Minnetonka.

The belief was spoiled after the turn on the first leg. Those looking through the glasses said Schell was dropping back, and when he turned the home buoy for the completion of the first lap, it was very apparent that something was the matter with his engine. With Schell out of it the race dropped into a procession and the Minnetonka won in a figurative walk.

Yesterday Dick Schell offered to pay the cost of the gasoline used and all of the expenses of the Minneapolis men, should they consent to give him another race. True sportsmanship would certainly grant the request of the Duluth man. There are many good judges who say that Schell has the faster boat, though be it said to the credit of Mr. Schell that he has made no excuses and says that accidents are part of the fortunes of motor boat racing.

Here is the result of the time of the three boats finishing the race:

Minnetonka, L. C. Scribner, owner, Bennett, driver, time 43:20 3-5.

Cecil L., Louis Williams, owner, Williams, driver, time 45:09 1-5.

Robert B., J. H. Barnes, owner, Jones, driver, time 47:42 2-5.

D. B. C., R. Schell, owner, Schell, driver, failed to finish.

One might assume Schell’s boat name — D. B. C. — is an acronym for Duluth Boat Club, but the caption on a photo of Schell’s boat in the January 1910 issue of Power Boating magazine suggests the name might have been Dingle Boat Capitol.

Caption: Dingle-Capitol, 29 by 5-foot speed boat built by the Dingle Boat Works of St. Paul, for Richard Schell of Duluth. Her power plant is a six-cylinder 6-1/2 by 6-1/2, 4-cycle engine built by the Auto Engine Works of St. Paul and turns a 22 by 26 wheel over 1,100 r.p.m.

As for the Minnetonka, there is an article in the March 2013 issue of Lake Minnetonka Magazine that provides some background on Moore Boat Works.

Royal C. Moore hailed from Lake Champlain in upstate New York and moved to Minnesota at 19 years old. He had built rowboats since he was 14, and found work with Dingle Boat Works in St. Paul, soon plying his craft along White Bear Lake. Lake Minnetonka soon lured Moore to its waters, where he and Gustavus Johnson opened their own boat works on Wayzata’s north shore in 1879.

The website PocketSights has a little more info.

Moore continued to build boats until 1912, when he sold to Eugene Ramaley. In 1929 the Ramaley Boat Company merged with Wise and Walker Boat Works to become the Minnetonka Boat Works. In the 1940s Minnetonka Boat Works built flat-bottomed, lightweight army landing craft known as “storm boats” which were used to cross the Rhine River during World War II. Minnetonka Boat Works also became well-known manufacturers and distributors of both Tonka-Craft and Chris Craft power boats. Wood boats were made here until 1958, when the company switched to fiberglass. The current building (built 1940) ceased to service boats in 1985 and is now home to 6Smith and Wayzata Brew Works.

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