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December 13, 2018 4:55pm
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Spaulding Wooden Boat Center Has A Colorful History

visitors can register for a three-hour walking tour

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The Spaulding Wooden Boat Center has stood along the waterfront in popular Sausalito, California since 1951. Myron Spaulding constructed his massive traditional boat building facility during the days when the traditional wooden sailing vessels were beginning to fade in popularity. Today, the Spaulding center is a functioning watercraft museum-like industry that builds, prepares and restores the fine wooden boats that collectors crave.

Spaulding Wooden Boat Center is a must-see attraction in Sausalito.

Myron Spaulding arrived along the San Francisco waterfront as a boy in the early 1900s. While in school, Myron developed a love and fascination for the then-popular wooden sailing vessels that were frequenting the San Francisco Bay. While attending local San Francisco schools, Myron received credentials in naval architecture, ship building and music, the three passions that would bring him fame in San Francisco Bay communities.

After graduation in 1923, Myron Spaulding attempted to follow a career in music as a talented violin player. During this era, San Francisco boasted lively vaudeville theaters and silent picture shows that featured live music. As the vaudeville acts were replaced by movies with internal music and sound, Myron Spaulding was offered a coveted seat in the performing string section of the popular San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.

While performing with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra until 1957, Spaulding continued to nurture his love of wooden sailing vessels. Before World War II started in the 1940s, Myron Spaulding had already opened his first navel architecture office in San Francisco as an excuse to stay involved with the crafting of wooden boats. Boat racing was a very popular sport during the leisurely days before war concerns replaced this fun.

World War II acted to change the way that wooden boats were built as the shipbuilders attempted to make stronger and lighter boats that could withstand the rigors of hard-use war requirements. During World War II, Myron Spaulding worked at the Madden & Lewis shipyards in Sausalito, California, thus sharpening his shipbuilding talents in this facility that was located across the Bay from the now dilapidated vaudeville buildings.

As World War II drew to a close, Myron Spaulding was able to take a lease on boat property nearby to McNear’s Beach in Sausalito. Spaulding repaired boats, continued his marine survey activities and built his first 36-foot ‘Buoyant Girl’ luxurious wooden craft. When this property was sold to developers, Myron Spaulding purchased the boatyard location where the Spaulding Wooden Boat Center stands proudly in Sausalito today.

What to expect at the Sausalito Spaulding Wooden Boat Center today:

When Myron Spaulding died at age 94, in the year 2000, his widow Gladys chose to leave the Spaulding Boatworks facility in the position of a charitable organization that would be maintained as a non-profit and functioning wooden boat building museum. Visitors to Sausalito can find the Myron Spaulding boat building facility at the bottom of Gate Five Road in Sausalito. Tours, displays and scheduled wooden boat cruises are available to Sausalito tourists, visitors and guests during all months of the year.

The Spaulding Wooden Boat Center is nearby to the thriving houseboat communities that dot the landscape along the Sausalito waterfront. Within these communities it is possible to find fine examples of historic wooden boats that are now claimed as private homes. On weekends, visitors can register for a three-hour walking tour that covers the houseboat districts and the Spaulding Wooden Boat facilities. Educated tour guides paint a colorful history for the Spaulding Wooden Boat Center and all Sausalito waterfront districts.

During the Sausalito Art Festival event over Labor Day weekend, it is estimated that over 50,000 visitors enter Sausalito to see the sights. The Spaulding Wooden Boat Center is open for visitors to examine during the Sausalito Art Festival; however, the wooden boat tours and cruise options are often arranged for in advance through local travel agents, the lodging options or through a telephone call to a Sausalito tour service. The Spaulding Wooden Boat Center can be reached during business hours at: (415) 332-3179.

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