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History Lives Here Text

History of the

Saugatuck Yacht Club


Taken from the Saugatuck YachtClub's "Little Year Book" for 1939


On a cold winter night in December, 1933, ten or twelve people met toconsider the formation of an organization to promote boating in. Saugatuck. Out of that meeting grewwhat is now known as the Saugatuck Yacht Club. Probably noone there that night realized in light of subsequent events, the significanceof that meeting.

Before the evening was over Harry Fort had sketched a drawing of asixteen foot sloop that eventually came to be known as the Papoose--the boatthat has been the backbone of the club. He promised to draw up full plans forconstruction and five members of the group announced their intention ofbuilding. In a few weeks the club was officially launched with Bob Crawfordelected Commodore and five boats were built under the watchful eye of HarryFort.

Charter members of the club were: Bob,Louise, and Mrs. Evelyn Crawford, Heath Crow, Jean Simonson, Erwin Koning, John and Moffatt Bird, Jim,Joe and George Sheridan, Norman Force, Ed Force, Ole Johnson, L. H. Waugh andBud Edgcomb.

Progress in construction carried on in Joe Wilson's building locatedwhere the cone shop now stands, and occupied rent free by the club, wasfacilitated by the fact that a great deal of the material used was sawed andplaned free by Charlie Hiestand.

That spring the club was given a boat housethen located at the foot of Griffith Street, by Mrs. Crawford, which was to beconverted into a club house. Members moved it ashore that April and set it upon a foundation, but later that year it was moved to its present location andrebuilt there.

During the latterpart of the summer of 1934 the club sponsored a dance at the Big Pavilion andbenefited financially to a considerable extent. New members were rapidly comingin all that season.



Joe and Jim Sheridan building the Cirrus 1933



Sheridan's "Cirrus," launched on July 21,1934, was the first Papoose to hit the water, followed by Fort's"Ruth," a few weeks later. Atwood's "Dilly Drip," sometimesknown as "Bottoms Up," built by Carl Bird was launched about the sametime.

Racing in 1934 was conducted ratherinformally. Races were started off the Pavilion dock and were not regularlyscheduled. Koning's "Ogemaw," one of thefew boats on the lake before the club was organized was the most consistentwinner of the year although "Dilly Drip," showed everyone her heelsafter she finally was commissioned. A Labor Day free far all was held in adriving rain after which most of the boats were laid up and club members turnedto a long winter of planning and dreaming. Bob Crawford was re-electedCommodore and led the club through a very pleasant winter of parties andmeetings. Some successful benefit dances were held before spring.

In1935 things really began to click for the club. Cups were donated by Charles E.Atwood and F. R. Kasparek. New boats that year were Corlett's "Skip It," Crow and Simonson's"Nimbus," Atwood's "Sis," Anderson's "Zephyr," and Tibbs' "Mascot." Mary Burdick entered her "Ameroojen" for the first time. Racing was still heldoff the Pavilion dock but was regularly scheduled and divided into Saturday andSunday divisions.




Papoosesrace on the Kalamazoo  ca 1938


High lights of the season were the exchangeskippers races with MacatawaYacht Club both in Saugatuck andat Macatawa; completion and furnishing of the clubhouse; and the big blow that capsized almost every boat at its mooring. The Quicks held their first party for the combined Saugatuckand Jackson Park clubs in July. The club made and set in channel markers in theKalamazoo River to make it a little less difficultto navigate. This was to become an annual task.

"Skip It" was the bright star ofthe racing seasons winning both the Atwood and the Kasparektrophies. Abundance of new inexperienced skippers in 1935 soon filled the ranksof the Submarine Club.

The first annual dinner and presentationday was held that year on Labor Day at the club house. Social activities thatnext winter were somewhat curtailed but a number of pleasant meetings andparties were held. A benefit dance was also arranged at the high school. In thespring of 1936 the season opened early with most skippers getting in at least amonth of practice racing before the Fourth of July.

Bob Crawford was again Commodore that yearand the club was assured of even more interesting racing due to the entrance ofthe Lark class. Hungerford's "Vulture," Giller's"Bee Gee," Howard's "Flame," Rendell's "Dee Jay"and Dempster and Bekken's"Kit Kat" went into that class with the Kasparekcup being set up for the group. Webster Corlettdonated a trophy for the Papoose class. For the first time racing was conductedoff the club house dock and we enjoyed the convenience of the new flag polegiven the club by the Atwoods. Haskins and Lorrimer's "Amigo Mia" was the only new Papoosethat year.

That summer a very wet race Saugatuck to Macatawawas held with "Vulture," aided by a big bailing can, first across theline. New racing features of the season were lady skippers' races and someoutside races. Parties at Atwood's and Quick's were greatly enjoyed during thesummer.

Racing ended that year with some new names as trophy winners;"Nimbus" taking the Corlett trophy and"Ameroojen" as an easy winner in the Atwoodseries. Bob Crawford at this time relinquished his Commodoreshipto Heath Crow after three years during which Bob had contributed much to thesuccess of the club in the difficult formative period.

In 1937 the racing course was lengthened toits present size; this being made possible by the dredging of Kalamazoo Lake.New boats for the season were Spieth's "HiHo," Reid's "Whisk Away" and Thorby's "Cape Cod."Another Saugatuck to Macatawa race was held and a fewoutside contests. The weather was discouraging all summer with frequent flatsfollowed by heavy days. In fact when Labor Day came it was necessary to run offa number of make up races -- in the race of a very strong norwester.. .

During that summer the club membersattended the annual Quick party and participated in the Venetian night parade.Heath Crow was re-elected Commodore for another season at the regular election.

When the summer of 1938 rolled around itfound some changes around the club house. A new dock had been built and thelawn had been sodded and landscaped. Through thegenerosity of LawrenceLamb the club became the possessor of a land raft which added somewhat to theease of docking. Frances Merrill's "Lazy Baby" was the only new boat.

Boats were slow income out that season and very few were ready to go before July Fourth. Racing,however, was the closest and most interesting in the history of the club andgenuine interest seemed higher than ever.




Race action in front of the club house at the endof Butler Street



Spieth's "Hi-Ho" finally captured the Corlett trophy after much nip and tuck racing while"Nimbus" came through to win the Atwood run off in a finish such ashad never before been seen. "Vulture" took the Lark trophy home forthe third successive year. "Lazy Baby" after a close sail off withthe "Ruth" clinched the Penfield consolation trophy. 1938 saw theestablishment of a new class of 18 foot boats which was to include Mowers and Cape Cods.New Mowers were built by Mrs. Evelyn Crawford and Bob Crawford and Crow andSimonson began construction of number three. The highlight of the season wasthe simultaneous capsizing of five boats in a heavy squall and the subsequentthrilling rescue. At the annual election Mark Atwood was elected Commodore. Inthe fall a very successful land cruise was held at Saugatuck followed by one inChicago.

-- Jim Sheridan, Recorder






Waiting Tables in Saugatuck

Back in Oak Park, Illinois,in 193_ Edie Hunter along with her two sisters owned a Hallmark card shop inour neighborhood and also a restaurant, we found out later, in Saugatuck, Michigan.


It was on ourway home from school that we would stop and talk with Edie and Ruth and Dorothyquite often. One day they asked us if we'd like to make some extra money overTulip Time in Holland,our Memorial Day weekend and any time we could spare over the summer months aswaitresses in The Three Sisters Restaurant, Saugatuck.


What an adventure we thought. Free room and board andtime off every afternoon to go to the beach, out to Lake Goshornor whatever. There were five or six of us, all good friends, involved inthis. It was lots of hard work, a good learning experience for a first job,and, best of all, we made it fun.


One memory that comes back to us now was when we would take back anorder of eggs to our infamous cook, Lena, for people who wanted them "overeasy." She would take them, and flip them over on the plate and say"Take it away." Surprisingly we never had any complaints about italthough the thought of it made me feel very deceptive -- but there was noarguing with the cook. She would not stand for it.


We all had great memories of beingserenaded with "Crying in the Chapel" by a group of local guys on topof Mt. Baldhead,swimming at the Oval Beach and Lake Goshornand making lots of new friendships during the summers of 1953 and 1954.



Waitresses on theshore ca 1956


Presently I reside in Lake Wylie, South Carolina, not far fromCharlotte, North Carolina, and each year for the last 14 or 15, or is it 15 or16, a group of us school bus drivers have met at the home of Ruth and Don Wendel in Douglas for a reunion at least once a year. Whilewalking down the present main streets of the town I have often wondered whereThe Three Sisters Restaurant was located. It sure has changed. -- Pat Prell Boyna

[The Three Sisterswas located on the east side of Butler Street between Mason and Culver Streets.]