BAY CITY (WJRT) -
(08/22/14) - A piece of Mid-Michigan maritime history returned this week.
A "knock down- frame kit" boat manufactured in Bay City and built in Washington in the early 1900's was shown off to a crowd of spectators on Friday.
The Saginaw River Marine Historical Society was in charge of bringing the Amycita home. The boat's owner says it's been in his family for a century and it's tough letting it go.
The historic 30-foot vessel is priceless to Greg Baxter.
"It's very emotional," he said. "It's my family, my life."
It took his great grandfather nearly four years to build. He started work on it in 1915 after purchasing the frame-kit from the Defoe Shipbuilding Company in Bay City.
The Amycita has been in the Baxter family ever since.
"My father spent 86 out of 88 of his years very closely tied to the boat," Baxter said.
The family jewel was then passed down to Baxter, who lives in North Carolina.
"I worked tirelessly on it to restore it the last two years," he said.
Now he's donating it to Saginaw River Marine Historical Society. Baxter says before his father passed, he dreamed of bringing the boat back to where it originated. So, he made it a mission to bring home.
"To honor the Defoe's, to owner my great grandfather, to honor my father. I'm going to scatter my father's ashes here. It's home," Baxter said.
Don Comtois, with the historical society, says it's an invaluable gift.
"It's in remarkably good condition," he said. "This one here is the queen of the fleet. This is probably one of the most historic maritime pieces that has come back to Bay City."
To thank him, and to make parting with his treasured possession a little easier, Baxter was given a gift - a small replica of his family's passion and hard work that will make a big difference when he returns home.
"Oh, wonderful, absolutely wonderful," he said. "It's something I can look at. I'll be looking at it everyday."
The Amycita will be on display at Skipper Bud's, on South Water Street in Bay City.