Stew Sill Jr. as I remember it. by Bill VanGee

As a small child growing up in Sodus Point, I lived just up the street from what later on became Sill’s Marina. The property at that time was mostly water and Stew Sill’s father, Stewart Sr. was in the marine construction business. I’m not sure who owned the property at that time (the deed goes under water all the way to the outside of the current “F” dock barges), but I think it was part of the Pennsylvania Rail Road property which also owned the old coal trestle (now Sodus Bay Marina) where large coal freighters would arrive to be loaded with coal from Pennsylvania for shipment to Canada. Part of the Sill Marine Construction business was a contract to go out night or day and turn the freighters with the tug “Susanne S” , as the freighters where too large to turn themselves in the restricted size to Sodus Bay. Stew Jr., being low man on the totem pole, was often tasked with making those turns.

As part of the marine construction business, Stewart Sr. collected and used a wide variety of barges and construction equipment which he parked along the current property of the marina. As a matter of fact, “C-D” dock is actually two old wooden barges, sunken and filled with rock and soil. The orange Korning 1005 Crane, is a 1954 model and part of that old business, and was probably used to help dredge and fill in the lower part of the marina. I can still remember the old boat houses and trees that came up to the bank of Rt. 14. People use to tie their boats to the trees and highway guard rail that ran along the shore. Sometime during the mid 50’s the shoreline was gradually dredged and filled to provide what is now dry land below the highway. (You could still do things like that back in the 50s).

Young Stew, when not working for dad, was involved with building and racing small hydroplane motor boats powered with Mercury outboard engines. To help pay the bills, Stew Jr. acquired a small building on the new dry land and started selling Mercury outboards and parts. A couple docks where built off the sunken barges so he could dock his boats, and before long a few more docks were added to rent out to those in need. So began Sill’s Marina.