A unique video featuring one of the most magical yachts of its era, “The Maiden Voyage of Onward,” will be presented in Council Chambers at Port Clinton City Hall on Thursday, Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. The video will include a Q & A session with Bob Reynolds, a grandson of Scott J. Matthews, who manufactured Matthews boats in Port Clinton.
In 1890, Matthews founded the Matthews Boat Company in Bascom, Ohio. In 1906, he designed and built a luxurious 70-foot yacht, a boat so sophisticated that Matthews decided to make an unheard of journey. Matthews and his family of four, and two others, ventured 9,000 miles on what is now called the “Great Loop.”
The year-long adventure covered the eastern half of the United States, a first for a private yacht. The rousing success of his double-ender yacht, “Onward,” and financial support of local businessmen resulted in the Matthews Company moving to Port Clinton in 1906.
A documentary was made of the trip with the collaboration with the Maritime Museum of Sandusky, which includes many of the original photos taken on the journey. The documentary’s narrative is based on the written account by Matthews of the trip down the Mississippi River from Peoria, Ill., into the Gulf of Mexico, around Florida, up the East Coast and through the Erie Canal to return to Lake Erie.
I lived just behind the Matthews house in Port Clinton when I was a kid. Their house was on Rt. 2 (that was way back then) and we lived in the first house on Elm St. just off Rt. 2. I even broke one of Mr. Matthews garage windows playing baseball once. This was in the late 50’s and early 50’s. What a great place to live at that time for a young kid.