The Outdoors Weekend feature (“Fully Arrived,” July 3) about the evolution and popularity of the pontoon boat drew response that dug deeper into the craft, the inventor of the modern-day pontoon, Ambrose Weeres, and related family stories:
Just who are those people?
Reader John Jambeck of Minnetonka recognized the photo of an early Weeres pontoon and many of the people aboard. In fact, he thinks he is in it. Jambeck said the pontoon was on Cedar Lake in Maple Lake, Minn., in 1957 and directly offshore from Camp Courage. Ambrose Weeres donated the boat and others to the camp “as they were great water transportation for the children and adults who attended Camp Courage,” Jambeck wrote in an e-mail. Standing at the front, left, is camp co-founder and original director Toivo Jambeck, John’s father. Two counselors are closest to Toivo Jambeck, and four campers are seated middle and right. There is a friendly debate about the guy standing in the middle, wearing plaid shorts. Time has blurred things. John Jambeck claims it’s him; Toivo’s son-in-law Bob Erickson sees himself.
Dennis Trooien weighed in on the invention of the pontoon. It so happens that his father-in-law, Edgar Ahlcrona, and his brothers Bertil, Robert and Richard floated their version on Lake Harriet, and it was featured in the pages of the Minneapolis Star on July 1, 1939. Quoting the story: “A new and ultra modern boat, floated on pontoons and powered with a motor under an automobile type hood … The boys built the boat at a cost of less than $35, exclusive of the motor.”