Grafton Boat Works, Grafton IL

(formerly Rippley Boat Company)

Most recent update: May 20, 2014.


Grafton Boat Works was started in 1892 by George, Frank and Will Rippley as the Rippley Hardware Company.  In 1910 they changed the name to the Rippley Boat Company and in World War I produced more than a thousand lifeboats.  In 1921, it was sold to Samuel Edwards and R. F. Purdy and the name was changed to the Mid-West Boat and Barge Company, but this did not last long and in 1923 it was sold again, to Everett Fry, who renamed it Grafton Boat Works.  Apart from building towboats and other vessels for the commercial market, this yard also produced, in the late 50s and early 60s, the SteelKing line of sturdy recreational boats, and in the late 60s and early 70s, almost 100 riverine-warfare craft for service in Vietnam.  The company closed in 1978.  The yard was at 400 Front Street, at the foot of Cherry Street, where the Loading Dock is now: see the site from the air on Google here.  If anyone can add to the table below, please e-mail me at timcolton@aol.com

Hull # O.N. Name   Owner Type  GT Built Disposition
Built by Rippley Boat Company
  na Marion Corps of Engineers Towboat 84d 1895  
  na Zeta Corps of Engineers Dredge 748d 1898  
  na Iota Corps of Engineers Dredge 800d 1900  
  218856 Fannie Charles Kram Passenger 8 1901  
  81783 Wanderer J. W. Linton Freighter 11 1901  
  na Henry Flad Corps of Engineers Dredge 834d 1901  
  na B. M. Harrod Corps of Engineers Dredge 1,082d 1907  
    Des Moines Okoboji SS Co. Passenger   1908 Hull only, shipped by rail to Okoboji and assembled there; scrapped 1929
  205563 Nina 2 J. Preston Lewis Passenger 13 1908  
  205843 Angeline II   Yacht 13 1908  
  207678 Hustler Greenville Bridge & Ferry Co. Passenger 9 1910  
  210223 Nixona R. G. Stumpe Passenger 10 1910  
  215072 Pontiac Starved Rock Scenic Boat Co. Passenger 10 1910 Now William L. Huse
  215073 War Chief Starved Rock Scenic Boat Co. Passenger 10 1910  
    Sioux City Okoboji SS Co. Passenger   1911 Hull only, shipped by rail to Okoboji and assembled there; scrapped 1942
  212073 Kate John L. Cummins Passenger 11 1911  
  na Mayon Corps of Engineers Dredge 275d 1912  
  209866 Uncle Sam Ayer & Lord Passenger 8 1912  
  211368 Irene George M. A. Fries Passenger 9 1913  
  213591 Margery 3 George E. Gurd Towboat 39 1915  
  214531 Redwing Northern Ohio Cooperage Passenger 9 1913  
  168209 12 Mile James S. Wilson Psgr. Barge 8 1914  
  219040 Cheyenne John A. Smith Ferry 35 1914  
  na Le Claire Corps of Engineers Towboat 243d 1915  
  na Minneapolis Corps of Engineers Towboat 235d 1915  
  na Muscatine Corps of Engineers Towboat 243d 1915  
  na Nauvoo Corps of Engineers Towboat 240d 1915  
  216931 Mallard Herbert Bennett Towboat 16 1915  
  217082 Leonard Quincy Steamboat Co. Towboat 22 1915  
  168530 Mary Emma McCann Ferry 11 1916  
        Passenger   1918 Now The Ark
Built by Mid-West Boat & Barge Company
  167976 Bessie Charles Kram Psgr. Barge 8    
  168210 Clara Helen Shellabarger Psgr. Barge 8 1921  
  168681 Dorothy Herman Pohlman Psgr. Barge 19 1923  
  222748 H. S. Hennen Mo. Valley Bridge Co, Towboat 35 1923  
  222881 Addie May Thebes Ferry Ferry 29 1923 Later Belle of Prairie du Chien, sank 1996
  223522 King Fisher Margaret C. Carrigan Freighter 39 1923  
Built by Grafton Boat Works
  223829 Grafton Ferry W. H. Shafer Ferry 39 1924  
  224455 Lorrene McGregor Ferry Co. Ferry 32 1925  
  224381 Ky-Ill George Muscovalley Passenger 43 1925  
  224592 Ella Fort Gage-Kaskaskia Ferry Co. Ferry 25 1925  
  224780 Rover E. B. Holliday Passenger 50 1925  
  229032 Belle of Chester Robert M. Groh Passenger 64 1929  
  229079 H. P. Treadway Kansas City Bridge Co. Towboat 74 1929  
  229187 Kennett Dillman Dillman Industries Passenger 152 1929 Later Tom Nugent, The Captain, Captain Dave, Captain H, Papa Joe, NLD
  231674 Governor McClurg Stephen Desbien Passenger 76 1932 Active
  515371 Jaydee Deere Inc. Recreational 80 1955 Now River Explorer
46 282671 Alicia II Alwal B. Moore Recreational 35 1956 NLD
110 284117 Big Iron Economy Boat Store Towboat  51 1960 Now Denny Angel
  500387 Captain's Lady George C. Silzer Recreational 41 1962 Active
  na Peoria    Corps of Engineers Towboat    1964 Active
333 953789 Elemar South Coast Inc   13 1965 NLD
348 671336 Barrie Wood Arrow Launch Service Passenger 29 1965 Later Destiny, now Sealth Arrow
  500323 Annie B Michael Erb Fishing Vessel 81 1965 Now Kingsway
360 508353 Reddy K Monongahela Power Towboat  28 1966 Later Denise L. G., now Hard Hat
377 509675 Intrepid Mark Lewis Crew Boats Towboat 26 1967 NLD
  na Kimmswick    Corps of Engineers Towboat    1967 Active
  1137609 SWL 6906 West Delta Operating Offshore Supply 32 1968 Later Dolphin II, Kat I, now Arkoma
397 523937 Bryce M II K & G Crane & Marine Towboat  33 1969 Active
400 517882 John Alexa Joliet Harbor Tugs Towboat  143 1969 Now William C
  521499 Piper Soule Construction Towboat  13 1969 Now Jillian Rae
  na 24UB 6801 to 16 US Navy LSSC   1969 16 boats
  na 56CM 6801 to 55 US Navy LCM   1969 55 boats
  na Of the 55 LCMs, the following ten are known to have had later lives:      
  592649 56CM 6810 US Navy LCM 45 1969 Now freighter Saltery Provider
  1053101 56CM 6815 US Navy LCM 45 1969 Now Beachcomber
  978652 56CM 6817 US Navy LCM 45 1969 Later Ship Care I, now Parker I
  621472 56CM 6820 US Navy LCM 45 1969 Later fishing vessel Drover, NLD
  1056156 56CM 6833 US Navy LCM 45 1969 Now freighter Island Supplier
  1207532 56CM 6839 US Navy LCM 45 1969 Later freighter Mudpuppy, NLD
  1249181 56CM 6843 US Navy LCM 45 1969 Now tug Multi Mo
  695760 56CM 6849 US Navy LCM 45 1969 Now fishing vessel Rocky Neck II
  991313 56CM 6854 US Navy LCM 45 1969 Later freighter Sunshine XII, now Akuluraq
  1031175 56CM 6855 US Navy LCM 45 1969 Later freighter Wadleigh Transport, NLD
  na 26UB 7001 to 22 US Navy LSSC   1971 22 boats
  na Person Corps of Engineers Towboat    1970 Now J. Gene Crump
  1170933 Prairie du Rocher  Corps of Engineers Towboat  24 1970 Sold 2005 as Lady Potasa
  na Rock Island   Corps of Engineers Towboat    1970 Active
  na Grand Tower   Corps of Engineers Towboat    1970 Sold
  na Beardstown    Corps of Engineers Towboat    1971 Active
  na Sangamon    Corps of Engineers Towboat    1972 Active
  na Stephenson    Corps of Engineers Towboat    1972 Active
  1124862 Lady Margaret Scott Carter Research Vessel 23 1971 Active
533 1219310 Lil Willie Peninsular Bay Enterprises    13 1971 Active
536 540209 Elvis H Mar Kel Marine Industries Towboat  20 1972 Active
538 541243 Howard W. Fitzpatrick MassPort Fireboat  133 1971 NLD
543 1245497 Laurie Ann R. B. Lyons, Inc. Towboat  25 1971 Active
548 535931 Andrea M   Evansville Materials Towboat  24 1971 Active
  536876 Three Aces   McKinnon Bridge Co. Towboat  17 1972 Active
  538986 Firefighter City of Boston Fireboat  125 1972 Active
  543171 Arlene Bodwell Family LP Towboat  38 1972 Now Ugh The Tug
  544997 Wm. L. Newman  Municipal Power & Light Towboat  21 1972 Active
568 546165 H. C. S. Dixie    Henderson County Sand Towboat  33 1973 Active
573 553218 Roberta J   Evansville Materials Towboat  32 1973 Active
  559332 Joey-Trish    Hennepin Towing Towboat  122 1975 Active
  561873 Lewis A. Enlow  A.C.B.L. Towboat  214 1974 Active
586 561874 Warren E Bourgeois A.C.B.L. Towboat  214 1974 Later A. C. Shelton, now Nova H. Louis
  562137 Sir William   Canton Marine Towing Towboat  42 1974 Active
  566622 Rusty Barrilleaux   A.C.B.L. Towboat  214 1975 Active
  567809 Scout I Door County Cruises Towboat  93 1975 Now Kimberly Selvick
  568630 James E. Philpott  A.C.B.L. Towboat  214 1975 Active
593 570081 Bill Froreich A.C.B.L. Towboat  214 1975 Now Zeland M. Deloach, Jr.
  575251 D. O. Donham  A.C.B.L. Towboat  214 1976 Active
  577475 Lenward Stephens   A.C.B.L. Towboat  214 1976 Active
  582087 Delmar Jaeger   A.C.B.L. Towboat  214 1977 Active
599 572722 Iron Charger Ohio Barge Line Towboat  245 1976 Later Bud Operle, Kenny New, now Tiny Sanderson
600 579635 Iron Pacer Ohio Barge Line Towboat  245 1977 Later Ray Gee, NLD
601 586734 Iron Traveler Ohio Barge Line Towboat  245 1977 Now Capt. O. A. Franks
609 580797 Chris K    Kelly's Harbor Service Towboat  43 1977 Active
614 594672 RWFF 1 Radcliff Marine Services Tank Barge 565 1978 NLD