GROSSE ILE YACHT CLUB
In 1934, a small group of men interested in sailing discussed the idea of starting a boat club. The first meeting held on Captain Fred Burdenos veranda, was attended by fourteen men. The club was incorporated in 1935 with Dayton Burdeno elected as first commodore. A 45 X 16 houseboat was purchased for $500 as a clubhouse and anchored off Burdenos Point for 3 years.
Inter-club races and wild game dinners were the main social features of the club around 1935-36. The boats were of various types and sizes which, although making racing difficult, was by no means sufficient reason to prevent this activity. In 1936, Commodore Burdeno presented the club with a perpetual sailing trophy awarded annually to the catboat winning the July 4th race. Another annual event the membership found they could depend on was the sinking of the houseboat when a big northeaster would blow. As with racing, teamwork continued to build with all members coming out to help raise and clean her so that life could continue.
Due to the rapid growth of the club and the inadequate docking facilities, it was decided to locate to a new site. After much deliberation, the present site on Peek-A-Boo Island and a strip of land on Hickory Island were obtained in the fall of 1938 for $7,600.
The land was beautifully situated, heavily wooded, and commanded an unobstructed view of Lake Erie. When the site was purchased, part of the land had to be cleared and members contributed their time to do the work. The houseboat was then towed down and anchored inthe channel by Peek-A-Boo Island until 1943 when it was hauled up and placed on the island.
A dock was built, the harbor dredged, and improvements were made on the houseboat. The foundation for a new clubhouse was also put in, but because of the lack of materials (due to WWII) the construction was stopped. The new clubhouse was to be located on the raised point of land which is part of Hickory Island and would offer a wonderful view of the races for those who did not sail, but liked to watch the boats. The clubhouse was finally completed in 1949.
Many additions and modifications were made over the next 45 years. A major renovation was undertaken during the winter of 1994-1995. By August 1995, the club reopened with a new front entrance, barrier free facilities, remodeled interior, renovated galley, and an enclosed patio complete with a sunken bar to retain an unrestricted view of the Lake. The present membership continues to appreciate the foresight of the charter members.