What would a lake be without boats?
The same holds true about a museum about Conneaut Lake history. Conneaut Lake has been home to countless boats over the years, and our museum boat exhibit traces the history and pays tribute to many of them.
The Liberty II is perhaps one of our premier exhibits housed in the boat room of our museum. It is a speedboat with a Liberty V8 aircraft engine which capsized during a race time trial in 1922. It rested in silt on the bottom of the lake until local divers, Brian Simpson and Bill Houghton found it and brought it to the surface in 1985.
It was amazingly preserved and meticulously renovated.
Also in the boat room is a Foust wooden double ended rowboat, a design that was popular from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s. This one has unique directional oars which made it useful for duck hunting.
Within the main museum is an original Native American Canoe and three specially made models, the Liberty II, the Pennsylvania and the Miss Conneaut.
A photo and story of the Anita, a steamboat which made legal history by a State Supreme Court ruling giving the public free access to the lake, is displayed.
Also on display are numerous photos of many of the steamboats which ran on the lake. They were a source of transportation as well as entertainment, such as enjoying music and dancing by the moonlight. Photos of their captains and crews are also part of our displays.
Ferry boats were also a popular form of transportation and enjoyment through the 1980s
Also in the museum if the boat driven by Bill Ott, who won many championships driving it. The boat is on loan from the Ott family.
The Barbara J, formerly piloted by the Hilton twins, is still taking passengers for excursions and private parties on the lake.
For those who enjoy boats, this is a dream exhibit.
In addition to the items in the exhibit, we have much more information related to boats in our archives.