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Western Boat Building Co

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Western Boat Building Co was a company based in Tacoma, Washington from 1916 till 1982. The company was founded by Martin Petrich, Joe M. Martinac and William Vickart. Within a few years, Joe Martinac left the partnership to go to the Tacoma Shipbuilding Company, and later started his own company. William Vickart was killed in an accident in 1921, leaving Martin Petrich the sole owner. In the early 1920s the company was located at the foot of Starr Street on part of the former Tacoma Mill Company property after that property was destroyed in a fire. Later yards were located on East 11th Street, D Street, and Marine View Drive. In 1937, the company built the Western Flyer as a purse seiner, and in 1940, this boat was the vehicle that carried John Steinbeck on the journey which he documented in The Log from the Sea of Cortez. In 1949, the company launched the largest tuna clipper ever built till that time, the 150 foot Mary E. Petrich. Towards the end of World War II, the company founded the Fairliner division which made fast speed boats. Before the devastating yard fire of 1950, the company was the largest builder of wooden pleasure boats on the west coast. The company continued to build boats till 1982.
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