Lowell Brothers header
BOATBUILDING FOR MORE THAN 100 YEARS

Frost newspaper ad 1951
Newspaper ad, June 1, 1951

   The Lowell Brothers, Jamie and Joe, invite you to Even Keel Marine, where they carry on a boatbuilding heritage that spans more than 100 years and six generations. The Lowell brothers continue the family tradition of creating masterfully designed and built lobster-style hulls for both pleasure and commercial uses.

   Carroll Lowell established Even Keel Marine in 1961 on the Cousins River, Yarmouth, Maine. In this small shop Carroll taught his sons to design and build in the methods taught him by his father, Riley Lowell, and his grandfather, Will "Pappy" Frost.


Will Frost, 1952

WILL FROST HISTORY
William "Pappy" Frost, a.k.a. "Wizard of Beals," is generally regarded as the primary forefather of the Maine lobster-style boat.

Frost (c. 1874-1967) spent his childhood in Whale Cove, Nova Scotia, near Digby. He probably learned boatbuilding at a young age from his father and his grandfathers, who are all believed to have been mariners and boatbuilders.

And Frost was growing up at a critical time, when the fishing world was moving from sailpower to motorpower. Young Frost eagerly plunged into this design challenge, creating boats that would best fit the capabilities - and drawbacks - of motorpower.

The results are sleek, smooth-gliding hulls that slice gently through the water with minimum resistance and maximum speed. Even Frost's earliest boats won races all around Nova Scotia - including one race when Queen Victoria was in the audience. As writer Paul Lazarus stated in a 1989 National Fisherman article:

"Moderately lightweight, high-compression power plants were not available until late in Frost's boatbuilding and designing career. So he paid close attention to improving the efficiency of the underwater, or wetted, surfaces of his hulls."

Around 1912, Will Frost moved his family to Beal's Island, ME. There he continued his illustrious boatbuilding career - his boats are said to have about doubled the speed of any boat in the area. (He is also said to have built anywhere from 700 to 1,000 boats in the course of his life.)

Numerous local builders worked in his shop over the 20 years that he lived on Beal's Island. His design features were rapidly incorporated into the area's boatbuilding culture, crystallizing into the style known as the "Jonesporter" or "Beal's Islander." Paul Lazarus stated in the same article:

"Jonesporters...were an outstanding hull form that Frost was highly influential in developing...seaworthy, fast, & exceptionally good-looking vessels..."

Click here to see MERGANSER, one of Will Frost's most famous boats.  

RILEY LOWELL HISTORY
One local man of boatbuilding and maritime heritage, Riley Lowell, became part of the family. He married Will's oldest daughter Wilhelmina, and built side by side with Frost for the rest of their lives, including when Frost set up shop in Massachusetts (during the depression), Rhode Island, and then Portland, ME.

Riley Lowell
Riley Lowell
Carroll Lowell
Carroll Lowell
Royal Lowell
Royal Lowell

CARROLL, DANIEL, & ROYAL LOWELL HISTORY
In turn, Riley passed on the boatbuilding bug to his five sons: Carroll, Royal, Danny, Donnie, and Malcolm. These five brothers grew up in Will Frost's shop, and they carried on Frost's design styles and secrets, making the name "Lowell" synonymous with quality design and workmanship.

Carroll reminisced about his youth in a 1986 article in Wooden Boat magazine:

"My grandfather would cut a model; the rest of the crew would be working, and he'd have it out there and take the drawshave to it, and he would say to me, 'Now hold it!' So I would bear down, and he would cut away on it, and hold it up, and maybe leave it and come back the next day. You couldn't help but learn from watching him. In the old days, a man would have someone hold something for him; this is how we learned...For instance, I was on the loft floor when I was a kid - watching 'em. Sometimes I didn't understand, but after a while it would come to me."

In particular, Royal, Carroll, and Danny worked together in the boat industry. In 1961, Carroll opened Even Keel Marine Specialties, Inc. in Yarmouth, where he and Danny and Royal would build many of the boats that Royal and Carroll designed.

Even Keel - 1960's
Even Keel Marine, soon after it was built by Carroll Lowell

JAMIE & JOSEPH LOWELL
Today, Carroll's sons continue the family traditions of excellence and innovation in boatbuilding. Like their father and their uncles, they also grew up in their father's shop -
they can even show you the table saw where their diapers were changed.

The Frost-Lowell legacy indeed continues in the current Lowell Brothers, and they are still carrying out its ideals (perhaps even genius?) at Even Keel Marine in Yarmouth. Drop by their shop sometime - hear some tales of old times, ideas for new times, and a whole lot of "boat talk!"

young Jamie Lowell
Young Jamie Lowell
young Joseph Lowell
Young Joseph Lowell
timeline header

1874

Will Frost born

1901

Wilhelmina Frost born

1905

Riley Lowell born


Frost boat in Whale Cove, c. 1908 Frost boat in Whale Cove, NS, c. 1908

1912

Will Frost and his family move from Whale Cove, NS, to Beals Island, ME

1926

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


Wilhelmina & Riley Lowell Wilhelmina & Riley Lowell

1926

Royal Lowell born

1930

Daniel Lowell born

1933

The Frost and Lowell families move to Massachussetts during the depression; Frost establishes Frost & Co.

1935

Frost establishes William Frost Co.
in Tiverton, RI (run by son Bert Frost)

1937

Carroll Lowell born

1946

Frost retires briefly

c. 1947

Frost establishes William Frost Boatbuilder in Portland

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

The Lowells open boat shops in Gray
and downtown Yarmouth

1961

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

1963

Riley Lowell dies

1967

Will Frost dies

1972

Jamie Lowell born

1974

Jesse Lowell born

1977

Joseph 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

1983

Royal Lowell dies

Mid 1980s to mid 1990s

Carroll Lowell expands his designing career, building mostly boats that he has designed himself.
He also begins selling more designs to other builders, as he gets older and his sons are still in school and unable to work with him full time.
In particular, Carroll works with young Peter Kass, designing boats for Kass to build, and helping to establish Kass as a wooden boat builder.

Early to mid 1990s

Carroll Lowell's sons work more with their father.

1997

Carroll Lowell dies; his sons take over the reins at Even Keel.


Carroll Lowell Carroll Lowell
photo by Dean Abramson

Today, Jamie & Joe continue to run Even Keel Marine as a completely 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. Visit their shop on the Cousins River in Yarmouth and see how they can meet your nautical needs.
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