The Chris Craft Company was started on Point du Chene, in Algonac, Michigan, a small town on the St. Clair River. It was here that Christopher Columbus Smith built his first boat in 1874 at age 13. These Smith-built boats were referred to as "punts" or "skiffs." With his reputation as a master boat builder on the grow, Chris joined with his brother Hank in 1881 to begin producing boats full time. As demand for their dependable hunting craft increased, the duo started building boats in rapid succession, perhaps laying the ground work for their future as builders of "standardized" runabouts.
Company Founder Chris Smith died in 1939 at the age of 78. (See Obituary, attached)