Ottawa River Yacht Club
The Original Club on the River
About Ottawa River Yacht Club
The history of yacht clubs on the Ottawa River begins with the Ottawa River Yacht Club. On the twenty fifth of October 1910 five men met with the Secretary of State of Ohio for the purpose of furthering yachting and its related activities in County of Lucas, Township of Washington city of Point Place. Although they already were an organization called the Ottawa Yacht Club they decided to become a charter organization with the State of Ohio. From henceforth The Club's name became Ottawa River Yacht Club. On November 10th, of the same year, 121 charter members of the Ottawa River Yacht Club petitioned the Stare for Incorporation.
O.R.Y.C. may have not been the first Club in the Toledo area but they became by far the one of the most active ones. From this inauspicious beginning Ottawa River Yacht Club has become the largest Club in Northwestern Ohio. With well over 550 active members at one time, the Club was and still is a leader in giving and lending support to boating and its' related activities in the Toledo area.
In the early years the Club was noted more for sailing and ice boating then it was for power boating. Remember the fact that in 1910 there were very few production powerboats available. For, if someone had a powerboat it was more than likely a one of the kind, hand made one off type boat.
Do to it’s unique location, protected from the storms of Lake Erie, and less than a few miles from Maumee Bay and Lake Erie itself, the Club prospered. The Ottawa River itself, with its many Islands and protected waters offered many opportunities for Club members to enjoy a day on the water.
In its early years, the Club was focal point of the growing sport of boating along the river. It was a leader in the community from which it was organized and many of its members were community leaders. Well into the twenties the Club provided it's membership with many activities traditionally associated with boating. The Club held gatherings as far away as Put-In-Bay and as close as Guard Island. We sponsor the annual Pinkley Cup Sailboat Race, held in conjuction wth Jolly Roger Sailboat Club The Club building is also provided to Toledo Ice Yacht Club for their meetings and their annual Ice Boat Regatta, witch is held on the Ottawa River and it's adjacent waters.
The Club building was in itself a unique structure, and easily recognized from the water. In the winter months the Club's heat was provided by a coal stove. Not until after the Club was reopened in, 1941, did the building have central heating installed. From the members wives and daughters a Ladies Auxiliary was formed in 1912.
With the coming of the depression and all of its consequences, eventually even Ottawa River Yacht Club fell on bad times. The Club was put on hold for a few years during the later part of the thirties. However by 1941 the Club was reopened by a group of hard working men whom one by one eventually were to become it's
Commodores and other leaders. These men not only lent the Club money but also lent themselves to the Club. These same men took the Club out of the twenties and brought it into the fifties.
To give an example, the Club launched its boats with a railroad track with a dolly and a hand crank. No mean feat when considering boats were getting bigger and heavier. They motorized and installed a car engine in place of the hand crank to pull the boats out of the water. In the fifties they built a hoist that was so well built that with a few modifications, it's still with us to this day. How was this all accomplished? It was accomplished by their hard labor and dedication to the Club. That's the main cornerstone to the Club. Although, the Club only requires 10 hours of work per year it has 70 or more members each year with over 40 work hours.
The clubhouse itself has seen many additions to the main building. From a modest two story building it was enlarged through the years to over 6000 square foot. In the eighties the Club bar room was enlarged and the bar itself was doubled in size. The Club grounds and its docks also went through many additions and alterations through the years. While buying up property adjacent to the Club by chance the boat dock to the immediate North became available to the Club in 1980. The Club financed the purchase of the property and it's dock totally from within its' own membership. The purchase almost doubled the total dockage of the Club. One thing did double, that is the number of hoists for with the new dock came a hoist.
The new dock not only provided us with an additional hoist but a building of some considerable size. At one point, in the early eighties, part of the building was turned into a bar. In and 1985, during its 75th anniversary the Club was granted a permit to build 40additional docks. The only draw back the building itself would have to used for a work building, because of parking restrictions. Along with the new docks a gas line was installed, thus giving or membership a low cost means to fuel their boats.
The Ladies Auxiliary provided the Club with a patio during the eighties. In the years since the patio was covered, a kitchen was installed and wind and rain protection was added.
In 2002 the Club dedicated its new addition which in effect doubled the usefulness of the Clubhouse.
Today, the Club and its grounds are conservatively estimated to be worth well over a million dollars. This does not mean the Club will stop here for there is an addition or project in the future to make the Clubhouse more functional it will be undertaken.
113 years is just a moment in time, a blip in the age of the universe but to us it’s a lifetime. Most of us think of living a hundred years but will we? How did Ottawa River Yacht Club manage to survive to celebrate 113 years? Peraverance, edicaton and effort and maybe some luck. The Club survived through World War I, Prohibition, the crash of twenty nine, Bank Failures, the Great Depression, World War II, The Korean War, Vietnam War, the Watergate Scandal, Oil Crisis, Space Shuttle Challenger, Gulf War, 911, Bank Failures again.
Many organizations have come and gone in the last hundred years, one that comes to mind is the Riverside Boat Club. That’s right the Riverside Boat Club located of all places at Riverside Park in North Toledo. First Federal Savings & Loan, Toledo Trust, First National Bank didn’t survive to see the twenty first century. In fact Toledo has only one locally owned bank, Signature Bank.
How did Ottawa River Yacht Club manage to make into the new millennium? It’s simple and complex all rolled up into one reoccurring theme its members. Through the first hundred years and into the next the club has been and still is blessed with members that were and are willing to get their hands dirty. We laughingly refer ourselves as a truck drivers club, in other words a working mans club. We have an amazing pool of talent to call upon when things need to be built, repaired and or removed. We can count on our electricians, welders, plumbers, roofers, policemen, painters, artist, writers and internet experts to have anything taken care of. From the making of the Clubs pile driver, hoist, docks, boat shoring and launching equipment and many of those pesky little projects related to boating, very little is hired out.
From its humble beginnings in 1910 to its present day in 2010 Ottawa River Yacht Club was and is in the forefront in any activity related to boating in and around the Ottawa River and Maumee Bay and beyond. We might not have a sixty foot boat but we have sixty foot of heart when it comes to treating anyone that decides to visit us.