I drove through Harbor Springs this summer and it has been a while since I was there. Right away I noticed a strange looking dark blue boat on display in the park. I had to stop and check it out.
The boat was named the “Aha” and built by inventor Ephraim Shay. He lived in Harbor Springs and his house stands across the road from the park. The boat was designed by Shay and built at his machine shop. It’s long an narrow hull made it one of the fastest boats at the time.
While being towed to storage in the 1930s the empty hull of the Aha took on water and was beached near Sucker Creek in the present day Wilderness State Park. The old boat sat there for decades slowly rusting and being used for target practice by hunters.
In 2003, the hull was brought back to Harbor Springs were it sat in storage. In 2019, it was trucked to Onaway and restored by the students at the Industrial Arts Institute. After restoring and repainting the hull the Aha was put on display at the park on the town were it was built.
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