The site that holds the current Yacht Works has a long and storied marine history. It was originally a commercial marine complex just to the north of Sister Bay, WI. The large dock allowed loading and unloading of goods from lake steamers for Sister Bay and the surrounding area. Barns, warehouses and other buildings were constructed nearby to support the transport of local goods as well as the import of necessary supplies to support the remote area. Though much has changed over the years, remnants of the original steamer dock and some of the buildings can still be identified.
It may be blurry, but you can still make out some features in the first photograph we have of the harbor and facilities. Notice there is no Building 3, and Building 2 is located west of Building 1. The old steamer dock sits in disrepair, and the harbor entrance is to the northwest.
Anchor Sam’s, as it was known, was owned and operated by Sam Subin, and his business incorporated only two buildings – the present office building Building 1 and Building 2. Just to the south in the photo were Jacobson’s Cottages, later known as Hub’s Motel & Pier. Rudy’s Restaurant and Bakery sat in JJ’s current location, and the barn and home behind that housed a slaughterhouse (Anderson’s barn) and meat market, respectively.
In this photo provided by Greg Diltz, the Diltz boys (Jim, Greg, and Peter) and the boat “Margie” are shown Memorial Day weekend 1958. The background shows Friendland’s boathouse and the north shore much the same as it looks today. Did you get gas from Greg when he worked for Anchor Sam pumping gas for fifty cents a day?
This aerial shot of Anchor Sam’s shows even more progression – the steamer dock has been pierced for safety, the harbor entrance has been switched to the south, Building 2 was moved from the dock to a space between Building 1 and the newly constructed Building 3. Looking closely, you can see several folks around the dock area and you can note the historically low water level. Can you read the boat names for those in the harbor? We see “Bon Vivant,” “Epitaph II,” “Instead,” and maybe a “J & B” (or D).
In the early 60′s Sam incorporated to become Anchor Sam’s Yacht Harbor Inc. He eventually bought out his original investors to run the Sister Bay operation himself.
This photo, taken during the summer of 1999, shows the undergoing expansion of Building 5 along with the newly completed Building 9. Missing are the gas pumps by the road, as well as the barn to the south. You can see the rebuilt launch well with its 25 ton Travelift and the bulwarks on the outer sides of the north & west piers.
In 2001 the marina was rebuilt and expanded to accommodate the bigger boats cruising the bay and coming to Yacht Works. At the same time, Building 3 was taken down and the dock wall that was sliding slowly into the bay (that’s what happens when a foundation is made from cherry pits – they eventually rot), was rebuilt. Building 3 was straightened, given a facelift and went from a falling-down storage unit to a new, fully-stocked Ship’s Store with laundry and shower facilities. Yacht Works continues to expand its storage capabilities with six buildings on Old Stage Road.