2007-01-18 / Island Life


Farley to speak of boats Jan. 25

Bygone boat Farley boats like this were once common sights in fishing waters near Port Aransas. Bygone boat Farley boats like this were once common sights in fishing waters near Port Aransas. You might say it's in his blood, or maybe bloodline.

Keith Farley, grandson of Barney Farley Sr. and great nephew of Charles Frederick (C. F.) Farley, will speak at a meeting on Farley boats Thursday, Jan. 25.

Farley will talk and show photos and other artifacts at 7 p.m., at the Community Center, 408 N. Alister St.

The free program is open to the public and presented by the Port Aransas Preservation and Historical Association (PAPHA).

Barney came to Port Aransas in 1910; C.F. came in 1915. Barney was a fisherman who took President Franklin Roosevelt and his son Elliott fishing in May of 1937. C.F. came here to build boats.

C.F. and his two sons, James and Fred, designed and built the original Farley boats. The firm, established in 1915 as Fred Farley and Sons, Boat Builders, was famous for its wooden boats built here. The boats were built from scratch using no written plans. Concrete replicas are scattered around Port Aransas as planters, courtesy of the Port Aransas Garden Club.

The Garden Club commissioned an artist to create a mold of a Farley boat planter to sell in an effort to unify the town and remember its history. PAPHA board members were involved in the decision to use the boat for a planter. The boats continue to be sold by the Garden Club.

Many Farley boats were built for customers, including a little-known speedboat that will be discussed at this meeting.

"I spent a lot of time watching and helping in the boat shop and that influence helped guide my choice in work," said Keith Farley about Farley and Sons, Boat Builders.

Farley works for Mike's Boat Building in Rockport and has a lifelong history in boat building, repair, design and other related work, including creating composite concrete polymer and fire retardant resins.

Working in fiberglass and other resins is a long way from helping in Uncle Jim's shop as a kid, said Farley, speaking of James Farley, the eldest son who was running the shop by the time he was old enough to hang around.

Farley now lives in Lamar, but has lived in Port Aransas several times.

PAPHA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and is working toward creating a museum in Port Aransas.

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