Gage Marine Celebrates 150th Anniversary! – Pier 290

Gage Marine Celebrates 150th Anniversary!

Gage Marine Corporation, including Gage Marine Boat Sales, Service, and Pier Service, Lake Geneva Cruise Line, PIER 290 Restaurant, Lake Life Catering, and the Lake Life Store, is announcing the company’s 150th anniversary this year. As a thank you to the area communities, we are donating $150,000 to local organizations, who are making a difference in the lives of Walworth County residents, with fifteen $10,000 grants.

A little history

The company, founded in 1873, was originally called Lake Geneva Steamboat Line. Later it merged with the motor boat line and became Wisconsin Transportation in 1916. In 1958, Russell Gage purchased the company, and it became Gage Marine. He greatly expanded the marina business, started a boat sales division, and introduced the second “Lady of the Lake,” the first new excursion boat on the lake in nearly 50 years.

Almost immediately the family launched a classic boat building business called Gage-Hacker with boats designed by famed naval architect John Hacker. Bill Gage, Sr. soon joined the company and helped to lead it through the 1960’s and 70’s as they rebuilt the entire excursion fleet, which had been badly neglected over decades. They shifted more into tourism and private charters and away from public transportation as the railroads stopped coming to the lake. The company also greatly expanded boat sales.

The 80’s and 90’s saw a focus on service with the acquisition of neighboring Inland Marine Corporation and their acquisition of a local pier company. Just as Bill Gage, Jr. (the third generation of the company) joined the company full-time in the early 2000’s, his father Bill
Sr. passed away at an early age.

Since then, the company has grown substantially. They moved back into boat sales – now selling premium brands across all lines including: Chris-Craft, Boston Whaler, MasterCraft, Bennington Pontoons, and Monterey Boats. They next acquired Summerset Marine and pier services, then went on to rebuild the marina and Cruise Line Winter Harbor located at Liechty Drive in Williams Bay. In 2012, they created PIER 290 Restaurant, which has become a destination in and of itself as well as the only restaurant directly on the lake.

“Gage Marine has grown throughout the decades making it the strong family company that we are today. Our team is made up of many second and third-generation family members,” said Bill Gage, Jr., president and CEO of Gage Marine. “While many changes have occurred throughout our long history, two things have remained constant — the crystal blue waters of Lake Geneva and the exceptional service from our outstanding team who understand that we do not sell goods and services, but help people create memories.”

Join us in celebrating

Join us as we celebrate this anniversary all year long! See a timeline plus fun historical photos on our 150th Anniversary page.

We’ll also be sharing a lot about our $150,000 community donation and the fifteen amazing organizations we will be awarding $10,000 grants to. We are so excited to have received 80 grant applications from community organizations. Stay tuned as grant application decisions will be sent out in early May.