Paul Luke was born in 1912 in East Boothbay, the son of a boat builder. He grew up working in his uncle Henry Rice’s shipyard and was so certain he wanted to build boats that he left high school before graduating. He got a job at the Goudy and Stevens yard in East Boothbay and learned more during World War II at the Bath Ironworks and building tugs for the Navy at Sample’s Shipyard in Boothbay Harbor.
Paul and his wife, Verna, had opened a boat shop in 1937 alongside Rice Brothers. Through a Rice Brothers referral, Paul received a contract to build two identical 37-foot sailing yachts, launching both on the same tide. They then purchased property on the site of an old pogy factory on Linekin Bay in East Boothbay, to which they moved their shop by barge. Before long contracts for custom yachts were coming their way. The company developed a reputation as an excellent and progressive custom boat builder. Paul Luke built about 75 wooden boats and then began building aluminum yachts in the 1970s.
Paul built his last boat in 1985. The yard then focused on boat maintenance and its specialized machine shop products.
The audio components of this exhibit are excerpted from an interview with Frank Luke on April 2, 2015 at the P. E. Luke boatyard in East Boothbay.