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Barger Boat Company

Harrisburg, Illinois

Hilman and Merle Barger, originally from Eddyville, Illinois, built boats in Harrisburg circa 1959. In fall 1958, Hilman signed a three-year lease for the Lightner building which formerly housed Saline Motors. In 1959, they shipped boats to Michigan, Kentucky and Indiana. 12, 14, and 16' models were made (September 17, 1958; February 4 and March 24, 1959 Daily Register (Harrisburg)). These articles report Hilman had worked in boat-building for about eight years, most recently for the Parsons Corporation. He came back to Illinois with 9 boat molds that had been used by Parsons. His brother Merle was sales manager and traveled to drum up sales and sign new dealers. Formerly, Hilman had owned the Custom Molded Fiberglass Products Company in Arizona and built swimming pools, caskets and fiberglass bodies for cars. It seems Parsons bought Barger's company before purchasing Lake N Sea from Chris Craft; employed him and his brother for a year setting up production and building boats in Traverse City, then released the Barger line of boats to focus on Lake N Sea.

Also in 1959, Howard Bow, outdoor editor for the Evansville Courier, tested a Barger model and reported on it in his column.

More information will be added as it becomes available.

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