This is Streblow Country.
Streblow Custom Boats is the oldest, most premier wooden boat maker in the United States.
A Legacy is Born
Larry Streblow began building boats as a hobby in his small garage. His friends at the Kenosha Yacht Club encouraged him to start a boat company and Streblow Boat Builders was born. In 1950, Larry turned out his very first hull and from there, his popularity grew rapidly. He moved from his garage to 75th Street in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he rented a 3-stall garage to continue his growing business. Still, this was not enough room! In 1954, he moved to the south side of Kenosha and formally incorporated his business into Streblow Custom Boats, Inc. In 1958, he designed 18’, 19’ and 20’ Rebel inboards, along with a 26’ Empress. Larry was great at marketing and had trade names for every model. Philippine mahogany – the wood of choice for custom boat builders – was scarce following World War II, so Larry scavenged for mahogany shipping crates for the essential raw materials for his hulls!
Eventually, Larry's son, Randy, joined him in boat-building. From age 12, Randy showed the same vigor for wooden boat-making as his father and he worked alongside him to produce many more Streblows in the coming years. Larry continued to serve as “the designer” and was responsible for creating all of the Streblow designs, from small outboards to outboard cruisers, to inboards. The prototype for the modern Streblow emerged in 1968. Streblow lore has it that the design came to Larry in a dream.
The Innovation Continues
By 1973, Larry Streblow was offering customers the option of either the standard inboard with mid-ship engine or a V-drive with engine aft (see right). The V-drive, with its horseshoe interior configuration, drew rapid favor. Design improvements have always helped set the Streblow runabouts apart from any other wooden watercraft. Larry Streblow’s innovative double-plank bottom, for instance, eliminated the need to swell the hull at the start of the season.
The Big Move
In 1980, there was a reawakening, a nostalgic re-emergence. People who grew up with wooden boats remembered the old, childhood feel of them. They wanted that piece of their youth back. In 1987, Larry, along with son, Randy and Steve Horton, moved their operation to Walworth, Wisconsin. Here, Larry continued his passion for wooden boat-building until age 82 when he retired. Streblow stands as one of the only manufacturers from the ’50s who continues making boats with wood throughout. Once their location was closer to Geneva Lake, it popularized even more.
The awe for Streblow boats continued during this prosperous time. Fully established in Walworth, Wisconsin, a team of 15 produced more Streblows than ever before and restored/maintained the 150 vessels already launched for our beloved customers.
Following in Their Footsteps
After Randy passed away in 2011, his protege, Steve Horton, who worked with the company since 1983, took ownership of Streblow. He continued the passion and drive. Streblow continued producing one to two boats per year, each unlike any other.
70 Years of Drive & Commitment
This year, in our new state-of-the-art facility in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, Streblow has continued to make waves in the boating industry. Whether we're restoring 70 year old wooden masterpieces or continuing work on our brand new Streblow boats, our passion and commitment to what we do remains constant. We are the oldest, most premier wooden boat maker in the United States and that won't change any time soon.