Frost - Lowell Boatbuilding Timeline

Frost boat in Whale Cove, near Digby, Nova Scotia, c. 1908Birth of the lobster-style hull

William A. Frost of Digby Neck, Nova Scotia, begins building boats, a trade he learned from his father & grandfather. He designs a new style of boats that maximize the capabilities of the new gas engines - sleek, smooth hulls that slice through the water with minimum resistance and maximum speed.

"When I was about five years old, I can remember him building his first power boat, which was a wonder then - to see a boat moving through the water with no sail!" - Wilhelmina (Frost) Lowell

Even Frost's earliest boats won races all over Nova Scotia - including one race witnessed by Queen Victoria. The photo to the right pictures the Ethel Maude, an early Frost boat, in Whale Cove, N.S.

1874 - Will Frost born

1901 - Wilhelmina Frost born

1905 - Riley Lowell born

1906 - Will Frost designs & builds his first power boat, the Toronto

Marcia and Will FrostMove to Maine

After a fire destroys his shop in Nova Scotia, Frost moves his family to Beal's Island, Maine. Numerous local boat builders worked in his shop over the 20 years he lived in the Beal's Island/Jonesport area. His design features were rapidly incorporated into the area's boatbuilding culture, producing the style often known as the "Jonesporter" or "Beal's Islander."

"The Frost boat about doubled the speed of any boat on the reach," said boatbuilder Harold Gower (Island Journal, 1985).

1912 - Will Frost and his family move from Digby Neck, NS, to Beal's Island, ME

 

rumrunners built by Will Frost during ProhibitionRumrunning Era

During Prohibition, Frost is known to have built rumrunner boats for the mafia, the Kennedy family, and the federal government - all at the same time. The photo at right pictures rumrunner hulls in his boat yard.

Boatbuilder Avery Kelley says, "Frost built some rumrunners. They were 56 feet long, with tremendous horsepower - brutal things. Then he designed one for the government to catch them." ("Maine Lobsterboats" by Virginia Thorndike)

Wilhelmina & Riley Lowell
1924 - Will's oldest daughter Wilhelmina marries local boatbuilder/fisherman Riley Lowell

1926 - Royal Lowell born

Depression Years - Massachusetts, Rhode Island

During the depression, the Frost and Lowell families move to Massachussetts, where in 1933 Will Frost establishes Frost & Co. In 1935 he founds William Frost Co. in Tiverton, Rhode Island, which is run by his son Bert Frost.

1930 - Daniel Lowell born

1937 - Carroll Lowell born

Will Frost's boat Back to Maine

Frost retires briefly at age 72 due to poor health. However, soon his friend Henry Dyer of Chebeague Island comes to him wanting a boat. So Frost set up shop again in Portland, designing and building the well-known Merganser, Leonard W, No Name, and close to 100 more boats over the next six years.

"Frost's Merganser model is though by many who have seen her to be one of the finest power boat hulls ever conceived." Paul Lazarus, "National Fisherman," Yearbook 1989

 

1946 - Frost retires briefly

1947 - Frost establishes William Frost Boatbuilder in Portland

1948 - Frost launches Merganser.

Royal Lowell and Admiral Jack McCain, 1950sRiley & Sons

Frost retires at age 78 in 1952. Riley Lowell opens shops in Gray and in Yarmouth, which he operates together with his boatbuilding sons Royal, Daniel, Malcom, and Carroll.

One photo from this time period shows Admiral Jack McCain, who owned a boat built by Riley Lowell and sons, speaking with Royal Lowell in the Yarmouth shop.

1951 - Frost moves business to South Portland (in the old Humpty Dumpty factory)
and changes its name to Frost's Boats

1952- Will Frost retires

1953 - South Portland business closes

1950s & 60s - Riley Lowell and his sons open boat shops in Gray and downtown Yarmouth

Even Keel Marine, Carroll Lowell boat shop on the Cousins River, Yarmouth, MaineBrothers team up

In 1961, Carroll Lowell establishes Even Keel Marine Specialties, Inc. in Yarmouth, mostly building boats designed by his brother, Royal.

"You can't fool a lobster fisherman. He's had boats all his life, knows what boats are built well and what aren't, and you are not going to fool him." Carroll Lowell

1961 - Carroll Lowell establishes Even Keel Marine Specialties, Inc.

1963 - Riley Lowell dies

1967 - Will Frost dies

1969 - Carroll rebuilds Merganser

Fiberglass boom

Royal Lowell designs many boats for fiberglass production companies, including:
Blue Seas 31
Bruno Stillman 35, 42, 55
Cape Dory 42
DMR
Duffy 56
Harris 35, 36
Holland 32
JC 26, 31, 35, 40
Nauset 24, 28, 36
Newman 30, 38, 46
Runaway 36
Sisu 22, 26, 30
Webco 40

1972 - Jamie H. Lowell born
1974 - Jesse L. Lowell born
1977 - Joseph E. Lowell born

1977 - Royal Lowell publishes Boatbuilding Down East: How to Build the Maine Lobsterboat
Royal Lowell establishes the marine design firm Lowell & Spalding, Naval Architects with Al Spalding

 

Carroll Lowell's wooden yacht Carroll Lowell Designs

After his brother Royal's death in 1983, Carroll begins building boats of his own design, including his masterpiece Sea Scribe.

"Sea Scribe is still turning heads - she is quite a craft as you well know. On a scale of 100 she is a 100-plus!!" - Alan VanWinkle, an owner of Sea Scribe

Carroll also sells some of his designs to other builders. In particular he works with Peter Kass, designing boats for Kass to build and helping to establish Kass as a wooden boat builder.

1983 - Royal Lowell dies

1984 - Sea Scribe launched

 

 

Carroll Lowell's wooden boat Carroll & Sons

Carroll develops his popular Merganser-replica boats in the early 1990s. His sons Jamie, Joe, and Jesse graduate from high school and begin working with him full time.

"He called me one day and held the phone toward the shop and told me, 'Listen! Listen!' I said, 'Carroll, I know where you are... you're sitting on your butt in a chair in the corner and those boys are building that boat!" - wife Lorelei Lowell

In 1997, Carroll designs his first hull for fiberglass production, the Lowell 43, and he and his sons build the plug together for creating the mold. In July 97 he suffers a heart attack and dies.

Carroll Lowell
1997
- Carroll Lowell dies; his sons take over the reins at Even Keel. (photo by Dean Abramson)

New Lowell Line

Today, Jamie & Joe continue to run Even Keel Marine as a custom boat yard like those of their father, grandfather, and great-grandfather before them. They design new boats, build one-off fiberglass, wood, or cold-molded boats, finish out kit boats, and do repairs and storage. They have also established a line of fiberglass Lowell hulls, available as kits or as completed boats.

Visit their shop on the Cousins River in Yarmouth and see how they can meet your nautical needs.

2001 - Lowell Brothers launch one-off custom fiberglass boat, La Madeleine

2002 - launch 40' wood lobsteryacht, the Carroll L

2005 - Jamie and Joe add molds for the Lowell 26 and Lowell 22 fiberglass hulls