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Boreal Community Media

Now That's a House with a View

Sep 26, 2019 12:21PM ● By Editor
All photos:  Boreal Community Media

Exclusive to Boreal Community Media - September 26, 2019

Art and Beth Kidd have found their own little slice of heaven right in the harbor in Grand Marais.  Many locals and tourists have come to know and admire the houseboat in the harbor over the years. Boreal Community Media sat down with Art and Beth to learn more about the history and inspiration for this houseboat that was built with Art’s own hands.

Art and Beth were both avid sailors, moving here from Southern Michigan.  They sailed from the same mooring that the houseboat is located at. That mooring is the oldest and most continuously used mooring in the harbor.  According to Art, that mooring was put in in 1987 when they got their first sailboat They sailed together for 31 years from that mooring. They loved sailing both Lake Superior and Lake Huron.

Both Art and Beth are former educators.  Art taught Math, and then was ISD 166’s first computer coordinator for 15 years.  He set up the district’s first Apple IIE computer lab. Beth was a 5th grade classroom teacher for 20 years and is famous for reading stories to little ones.  

Their motivation to build the houseboat was to stay connected to the harbor.  Named the HMS Pontoon (for homemade solar power), the houseboat base was designed and built in one summer.  Art said that his houseboat was designed after another vessel that they are still using. He started with the deck and roof first to test it on the moorings.  Art hired a young man to work with him, and they had the deck and roof completed in two weeks. He put it out there for two summers and it did great. It held up great with storms and strong winds.  They put a picnic table on it to enjoy it for those first two summers. After that, they started building walls and cabinets, which amounted to about 2-3 additional years of work. The total project was completed in 5 years.

The interior of the houseboat is equipped with everything that they need.  They have a grill, chairs to sleep on, a sink, stove, and even toilet facilities.  Now that they are done sailing, they use the houseboat more frequently. For Beth, her favorite part of the houseboat is her love for being on the water.  Art said Grand Marais has the best harbor with so many advantages: being close to town, the hills, Artist Point, a base for rowing around the harbor, and simply seeing the other boats that come in, wondering where they are from.  Their grandchildren love visiting the houseboat as much as they do. From there, they learned to row. It has taught them independence. They have a spectacular view for watching fireworks with family and friends.  

Next summer, if you happen to see Art and Beth sitting out on the deck of their houseboat, make sure to wave and thank them for sharing their amazing story of their life with the Boreal community!