OTTAWA RIVER YACHT CLUB
On the twenty fifths of October 1910 five men met with the secretary of state for the purpose of furthering yachting and it's 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.
MaybeO.R.Y.C. may have not been the first Club in the Toledo area but became by far the one of the most active one. From this inauspicious beginning Ottawa River Yacht Club has become the largest Club in Northwestern Ohio. With well over 550 active members today, 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 Ottawa River Yacht Club'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 gatherings at such far away places as Put-In-Bay and as close as Guard Island. They held there sailing regattas and before the advent of the snowmobiles, they held Ice Boat Regattas 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 did the building have central heating installed. Ottawa River was one of the first Clubs in the area to form a Ladies auxiliary, who to this day are one of the cornerstones of the Club.
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 becomes 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. Theymotorized 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. Ottawa River is probably the only Club in this area to have the use of two hoists.
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 40 additional 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.
Today, the Club andits 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 in the future to make the Clubhouse more functional.
Update April 2019 by PC Gary Horn
After the turn of the Century, the Club decided to rearrange its docks to better utilize the space available. By eliminating a spur of small docks, which were more suited to boats with a narrow beam, they were able to accommodate larger boats with wider beams. The new arrangement was designed and the work completed by the members themselves.
Davey Jonesís Locker was completed in 2015. What was once a small garage that housed the jeep used to pull the boats around the yard on a network of rails, is now a fantastic place to hold Club functions. A patio was constructed adjacent to Davey Jonesís Locker and it is equipped with grills for those that want to cook out and enjoy a view of the boat docks and the water. Once again the members stepped forward to design and construct the new building and the adjacent deck.