Clinton River Boat Club History

2015 – View from the Wheelhouse – The Clinton River Boat Club observed its 75th anniversary, and its 60th year on Club Island. As the Commodore’s Ball returned to the beautiful and historic Detroit Yacht Club, Great Lakes ice coverage almost reached the historic levels of last year, and again delayed Island opening for a second consecutive year. A permanent membership growth committee was appointed, chaired by the current Secretary, to bring clear focus on this critical initiative, and several outreach and rendezvous activities resulted. A Social over 30’ membership classification was created to adapt to changing boating habits. With no beach due to very high water levels, and intense wave reflection making swimming unsafe in the Middle Channel, activities moved to the Muscamoot Bay side where a small float was placed, prompting study of floating docks for the future. The pump house project was brought to conclusion with the installation of new pumps, and the barge was repowered as the trusty old Yamaha was sent abaft the taffrail. Club Island found its place on the (weather) map with the installation of an internet connected weather station. A major effort was initiated to address issues with our aging power pedestals, with continued work already planned into 2016.

2014 – The View From The Crow’s Nest revealed a winter of historic cold weather and snowfall, which required the first trip to the Island to be on an air boat, as record-breaking Great Lakes ice coverage delayed the placement of buoys by the Coast Guard, and prevented water access to the Island until May. Numerous broken tie backs were discovered and prompted repairs which continued through the summer. All new plumbing, electrical and paver brick flooring was installed in the pump house. The gazebo deck received much needed replacement of many decking boards, and the Past Commodore’s Patio deck was completely replaced. Cleanup of debris from last summer’s storm damage continued. A spectacularly memorable Fourth of July weekend brought Christmas in July, a visit from Santa, a flyover in a member’s helicopter for aerial photos of the fleet, all topped off by an evening fireworks cruise on the Clinton River Friendship, enjoyed by many and missed by few. The cool summer caused the cardboard boat races to be held alongside the Muscamoot Bay seawall, and there were no sunburns acquired over Labor Day Weekend. With input from 2 Past Commodores and a long-term Life Honorary member, and with the support of the Board of Directors, the Flag Officers drove a sustainability initiative focused on securing the financial foundation of the Club into the next 75 years. Including line item detail for each asset, remaining useful life, schedule of replacement, and future needs encompassing economics, a plan was presented to the membership at two Town Hall meetings. With the Flag Officers and Board committing to responsible fiscal management, the membership responded with resounding approval of indexing dues to inflation, and a dues increase to fund the future capital needs of the Club. Detailed execution of this plan into the future provides for the seeding of fair winds and calm financial seas for the Clinton River Boat Club.

2013 – Commodore’s Log 2013 – a year like no other at Club Island. The winter of 2013 brought historically low water levels across the entire Great Lakes, and with only 3 feet of water in the harbors, the Board responded with a massive dredging project to assure access to the Island. With Swim Island piled high with dredging spoils, and contrary to all credible forecasts, the late spring rains then brought the water levels back, and the harbors were ready for whatever nature might bring. But Mother Nature responded in another way, when storms brought winds that wrought unprecedented damage to Club Island. On June 18, the huge willow trees at the corner of the south harbor were destroyed, with one uprooted and the 6-foot diameter trunk of another snapped like a twig and toppled into boat wells in the harbor. With broken pilings, crushed picnic tables, grilles, shorepower pedestals, and hail damage to the clubhouse siding, we were so very fortunate that no one was hurt. Minor damage was confined to several small boats, due only to the fact that this occurred on a Monday with the harbors empty. Power was restored to the Island 5 days later. Then, just as the clean-up seemed to be progressing well, on July 19, another storm of equally unprecedented strength uprooted the remaining large willows on the Island – 2 along the Middle Channel, another into the South Harbor dinghy wells, and yet another into Muscamoot Bay. With several large boats sustaining damage, we were again fortunate that there were no injuries. Cleanup continued through the rest of the summer and fall, and what seems a lifetime supply of firewood was cut, split and stacked, with more work awaiting the arrival of 2014. A wood chipper was procured to attack the mountain of twisted branches, and 70 new trees were planted to seed the regrowth. Despite these distractions, members still constructed, rewired and replumbed a new pump house, built a new dock, as well as continuing the work on local electrical repairs. Dialogue continues in earnest with DTE regarding the ongoing quality and reliability issues with incoming power at the Island. And, the members even found time to relax and enjoy the Island, with a great entertainment calendar that included the largest fleet of cardboard boats yet at the Barge Party, and a great Labor Day dinner event.

2012 – From the stream of the Tell-Tale – with continued focus on membership, the Friends & Family program sustained the momentum with 191 boating members at season’s end, providing the financial strength to add another $43,000 to the reserve fund. The tennis courts were resurfaced and finished to USTA standards, and this project spurred the Board to embark upon line-item budgeting to assure funding of future maintenance needs for all capital assets. Heat and air conditioning was installed in the shore heads, and dock replacement continued with 6 more new docks in the SE harbor. July 4th weekend began with a monster storm that damaged several boats and snapped the trunks of several trees 48” in diameter along the Middle Channel. Club Island was the site of a wedding as our caretaker John Space and Jan Kenney were joined in marriage on the Gazebo, with the Flag Officers and PC’s, along with their mates, standing in honor, and many members in attendance. The Barge Party saw 32 cardboard boat entries, and a Western theme highlighted the Labor Day dinner. Data gathered over Labor Day weekend confirmed that the Island electrical system was sound, and convinced DTE that there was a power delivery problem to the Island, and DTE has committed improvement funds for spring upgrades. Closing day activities included sounding all harbors and wells in preparation for spring dredging to address historical low water levels.

2011 – The Captain’s Log will show 2011 to be a year of great accomplishment. With membership as a primary focus, we started the year with only 147 members, and a goal of achieving 200. Through very creative incentives and determined efforts of the Membership Growth committee, we added 66 new members, ending the year with 193 boating members, and 5 applications in process. The weather on Island Opening day presented a real challenge – in fact the event was cancelled, a detail learned by 3 brave mariners only upon reaching the Island, after braving howling winds and 4 foot waves to get there. The spring monsoons continued right through Memorial Day weekend. We were finally able to walk Swim Island again after the phragmites were cut down, as that reclamation effort continues. It was gratifying to again see the harbors full for the July 4th weekend. Club Island has what must be the last remaining Ash trees standing in the State of Michigan, as we removed those infected with the emerald ash borer and treated the few remaining healthy trees. 6 new docks were installed in the southeast harbor as the dock replacement program continues. The sprinkler system was the recipient of much attention as it was restored to working order. Upgrades to the shoreheads and showers continued, and the WiFi system was further improved as well. The Board was able to add $50,000 to our reserve fund, the result of remarkable fiscal management. A great entertainment calendar provided many memorable events. And in stark contrast to Opening Day, a spectacular warm day and sunshine made it all too hard to leave the Island for the season following Island Closing day. Arrivederci.

2010 – “In with the old” – 2010 saw the Club’s 70-year journey to own our beloved Club Island finally completed, as we celebrated Independence Day on July 4th observing the birth of our nation, as well as our own independence from the State of Michigan. The Past Commodores planted our flag on the Island, and the deed to Club Island was presented to the Board of Directors. Mission accomplished! – with deep gratitude to the membership over many, many years for the support to make it happen. And – “In with the new” – as wireless internet service was made available to all boats in the harbors. What we once escaped to Club Island to get away from we now find we can’t live without. A 900-pound anchor recovered from a Great Lakes schooner in Lake Huron was presented to the Club by the Past Commodores as a memorial centerpiece. The economic meltdown of 2009 had a dramatic effect on our Club. Our membership count seemed to change like the lake water levels as we plunged to 147 boating members this year and we had to watch the budget depth sounder very closely. The Board of Directors responded with very innovative membership incentives that have already resulted in a significant influx of new members for the coming year. A limited number of wells were made available for seasonal rental to generate additional revenue. The fading Past Commodore’s pictures were scanned and touched up. Several more new docks were installed in the North Harbor. A dedicated area for the “Tweens” was arranged in the Clubhouse, with a new ping-pong table, foosball game and a TV. Another spectacular barge party, but again delayed by weather. The gales of November seemed to come early as many brave souls ventured to the Island to endure 40mph winds and 50 degree temperatures for the Labor Day weekend. Aerial spraying was conducted late in the fall to treat the invasive phragmites on Swim Island so we can initiate a reclamation there. Full Speed Ahead!

2009 – After a hard winter, many repair projects needed to be made. Seawall repairs topped the list. More than 80 linear feet of seawall was repaired or replaced, where needed, and tie-backs were replaced also. In the course of the repair work there was damage to the grounds and the lawn irrigation system. Repairs were made as spring weather permitted. Just days before the 4th of July Holiday, a transformer that was struck by lightning and damaged beyond repair was replaced. Large blocks were placed to stabilize the “Swim Island” bridge. Although the “Work Boat” had provided service in the past, it became expensive to maintain and it was sold. Replacement of “unsafe” docks began in the North Harbor and this project will resume in 2010. Many events were on the Entertainment Calendar; annual favorites, as well as a new event, “The Diva Party”. Twenty boats went on the 10-day Rendezvous that included ports of Lake Erie and concluded at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club. The annual “Barge Party” was cancelled twice due to unfavorable weather. Several Friday night cook-outs became “cook-ins” due to unfavorable weather also. All events, especially the Holiday weekends, continued to surprise and delight all. Lake water levels were the highest in the last decade. Membership reached 171, including 8 new members. The Population of children under the age of 18, at best count, was 202. Island Acquisition, begun in 2005, and accompanied by the struggle of bureaucracy, is approaching completion of the process, as initial payment toward the purchase was made and received by the State of Michigan. It is with much optimism and expectation that Club Island ownership will be a reality in 2010.

2008 – The interior of the Club House was painted and the Island Store was updated by removing the low ceiling thus providing more efficient air flow. Two Vulcan Hart commercial stoves were installed and they have doubled the cooking capacity for oven and surface cooking. Several large tree stumps were finally removed. The mounds of dredging spoils at the entrance to the South Harbor were leveled and also provided fill dirt where needed. These areas were then raked and seeded. The Members and their guests enjoyed an entertaining season at Club Island. The Entertainment Calendar was filled with events to be enjoyed by all. We are proud of our talented members who volunteer their time and energy. The Calendar was highlighted with the Mates Boat Handling Course in June, the CRBC Rendezvous at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club in July, and Halloween in September. The Barge Party in Goose Bay continues to be a favorite event and this year was no different. The weather was outstanding. It was an afternoon of great food, new games, and a record setting attendance of 70 boats. The Purchase of Club Island from the State of Michigan has not yet been completed. The property has been surveyed, the paperwork submitted and we expect this purchase to be finalized in the near future. Membership stands at 194, and Members, their families and guests of the Clinton River Boat Club are appreciative of their beautiful gem, known as “Club Island”.

2007 – was a significant year for the Clinton River Boat Club. Through hard work and skillful negotiations we are very near closing the purchase of Club Island from the State of Michigan for one fourth the original estimated price, saving additional expense for our membership. We completed several facility maintenance projects in spite of Mother Nature challenging us with 70 MPH winds during a storm in early Spring which uprooted many trees and downed all the birdhouses. The electrical system in the West Harbor was upgraded. After nine consecutive barge trips laden with wood chips, we added 120 yards of new mulch to the playscape using our new barge ramp to transfer the materials. The clubhouse received a much needed face lift including new roof shingles, exterior repairs and paint and Club Store upgrades. Once again we had a full social calendar. The Barge Party set a new record with 63 boats. Finishing the year with 202 active boating members, the most in eight years…priceless

2006—On September 30th Club Island celebrated its 50th anniversary acknowledging the Island’s dedication in 1956. Ironically, fifty years later we are in the final steps of purchasing the Island. During the entire year a special committee pursued this purchase with the State. Late in the year the Michigan Legislature passed a bill, signed by Governor Granholm, which allowed the membership to purchase the Island. The next year will see many administrative processes with Clay Township and the DNR to obtain the deed and determine the final purchase price. We aggressively instituted a new membership drive which resulted in 35 new members. Twelve more trees were planted in the event we should lose some to the Emerald Ash Borer. The east side South Harbor received a long awaited electrical upgrade. Manhole cover assemblies were installed over the septic system along with a pump out. In the Spring we dredged over 1500 yards from both harbors creating “Club Mountain” on the east side. We had a full year of fun and diverse social activities, including our third rendezvous at the Cove Marina in Canada. Reminiscent of years past, we managed to squeeze 117 boats onto Club Island for our Labor Day celebration. Halloween on the Island tipped the scales with 108 trick or treating costumed goblins. After many beautiful sunrises and sunsets…it was a very good year.

2005—Club Island took full advantage of the newly acquired Pontoon Boat. The 38 ft long and 10 ft wide boat has the capacity to carry 7000 pounds of cargo. This vessel will be used to transport everything to the Island. One of the first deliveries to the Island was a used Gator purchased from former member Dean Holloway. This gator was in excellent shape and added to the Islands growing fleet of vehicles. The next large delivery was twelve trees that were added to the Island. There is always a need for trees, but the impending infestation of the Emerald Ash Borer made the need for trees more urgent this year. Later in the year the Island’s front end loader needed to be replaced and again the new pontoon boat was beneficial. The end of August, the 16 year old Ford lawn mower required replacing and again the new pontoon boat came through. The Board of Directors purchased a new Kubota lawn mower to replace the Ford lawn mower. Problems with the East side electrical and the need for more power on the West side of the Island made it necessary to form a committee to revamp the electrical system, work is still proceeding. A committee was formed to investigate the purchase of Club Island. The land today is currently under the lease which will expire in 2013. The Committee put forth a plan to purchase the Island and presented it to the Membership which overwhelming endorsed the plan to buy the Island. Work is still underway for the purchase.

2004 – Club Island was full of construction activity in early April. Massive loads of materials and heavy equipment were ferried to the island to prepare for the PlayScape. The Club saw unprecedented member support for the construction of the PlayScape project with financial donations and the many hours of physical labor. A new tradition began with free Friday night barbecues. The Commodore and his helpers personally prepared and served the dinners to promote mingling among the members. A second commercial-grade barbecue grill was purchased. In a combined project with Detroit Edison, the main electrical supply line from Harsens Island was removed from the telephone poles and buried under ground. The year was brought to a close by the demise of the Club’s 24-year-old pontoon boat. A committee was formed to research and procure a new pontoon boat that will meet the Club’s needs in time for the spring.

2003 – A new stand-by generator for the clubhouse was purchased and installed. The kitchen and bathroom plumbing and the septic system received serious maintenance performed by several of our hardier members. New Purple Martin birdhouses were installed. The by-laws underwent an in-depth review and the membership approved an update. The west side seawall cap was removed and replaced with welded cleat and electrical pedestal brackets. The kitchen remodeling was completed with final trim, painting and installation of the appliances. Six new Webber gas grills were installed. The island was treated with weekly insect control. The new work boat was put into service. The North dingy Well pilings were jetted into place and secured. The membership overwhelming supported the purchase and installation of a new children’s play-scape. The Board of Directors approved the funding for a swing set and play-scape and the installation of the play-scape in 2004.

2002 – Due to cost and onerous permitting requirements, the potable water project was abandoned. Necessary dredging was completed in the north and south harbors. Weekly insect spraying began in July and appeared to be highly successful. A 25 foot workboat was acquired through Marc Boeckl and will be refurbished over the winter. The barge had several leaks repaired. All propane tanks were upgraded with new safety valves. The big project of the year was a major renovation of the kitchen. Some two dozen dedicated and talented members removed appliances, replaced the floor, walls and ceiling, including light fixtures, then reinstalled everything; all over a period of three weeks in September.

2001 – The 2001 Grounds & Maintenance Committee was extremely active. The pole barns which stores the majority of supplies and equipment was completely reorganized. A storage platform was erected to store seldom-used articles. A new wash down sink and plumbing was installed in the maintenance garage. A new high-pressure pump was installed in the pump house. Locks were installed on the dry storage cabinets in the clubhouse. A new freezer was installed in the kitchen to store ice. New boards replaced rotten boards in the gazebo decks as well as decking around the clubhouse and all decking was re-stained. The entire back wall of the caretaker’s apartment facing the south lagoon and main support decking were replaced. A new door wall was also installed and the interior was painted. The exterior of the clubhouse was completely repainted. All clubhouse carpeting was steam cleaned. The ventilation systems for the men and women’s rest rooms were dismantled and a new air handling system installed for greatly improved ventilation. Six new Weber gas grills were installed. The barge and Lund boats were both painted and the barge was refitted with a new 50 HP Yamaha outboard. The sprinkler pump for the south lagoon (west) was rebuilt and the sound system for the island was completed. The fire truck was replaced with a trailer and pump-mounted apparatus. Numerous dock boards were repaired or replaced in the north harbor. Frames under power boxes in north harbor were replaced and power boxes painted. A seawall cap failure in the south harbor was repaired. Contracts for dredging both the north and south harbors were awarded and dredging scheduled to be completed prior to the 2002 boating season. Planning for a potable water system was authorized.

2000 – The new ships store opened in July with the hard work and generous donations of over 40 members. The new store was ahead of schedule and under budget. Seawall repairs were made in the South Lagoon. A new Power Lift for the Island Barge was installed in the North Lagoon and dredging was required at the North and South entrances due to low water.

1999 – New Tennis Courts were completed and officially opened in June. Plans for new Mates Store were approved and construction will be completed in summer of 2000. New transformer panel & wiring were installed at West End of South Lagoon with (11) new boxes. New cluster piles installed at North End for barge ramp area along with new piling for pontoon hoist. New lawn tractor & new snow fencing were purchased and sand bed installed around swing sets. New defibrillator purchased and installed in secure casing in Club House along with specialized training for several members.

1998 – Erosion areas were backfilled and repaired, along with dredging of the North & South Harbor entrances. Overhead lattice was removed from South end of Club house & new gutters and down spouts were added, also a new hot plate grill was replaced in the kitchen. The Tennis Court renovation was started after Island closing. The old Court was broken up & filler stone was added to raise the court 6”. The maintenance building and barn went through a major renovation and two new John Deere utility carts were purchased.

1997 – The renovation of the South Harbor was completed from a pilot project started in 1996. (66) wells were extended 50 ft. and all the steel pilings were replaced with wood. This was also a year of high water and our swim beach was washed away. We are applying for permits from the DNR to implement a plan to save Swim Island.

1996 – The underground sprinkler system for the entire island was completed. The system has thirty separate zones and (210) sprinkler heads. Seventy fiberglass picnic tables replaced all the old wooden tables. Twelve wells in the South Lagoon were renovated and extended to 50 ft. as a pilot project for the potential of a long range project.

1995 – Brought on the required repair of several seawall Tie-backs that had given away. The old Club house had a new ceiling, new lighting & new carpeting installed. Also, the Men’s & Ladies bathroom & hallway were freshly wallpapered. The underground sprinkling system was also started.

1994 – The Past Commodores’ Patio was built around the Clubs’ newly erected Flag pole. New windows, entrance door, and the Mates Show Case were installed in the old Club House. The old Club House and apartment were re-roofed. The repair of several docks had to be done because of the ice and severe cold. We also had to repair the tie-backs on approximately 300 feet of seawall at the North end.

1993 – This year brought on the completion of the new clubhouse addition, one of the finest projects done at Club Island. The Club also finished the new dinghy wells in the North lagoon.

1992 – The board decided to provide gas barbecue grills in strategic locations, in framed pits for each of the harbors. The new club house addition, facing the south harbor, was begun and fully enclosed before the end of the season. Based on a survey, the board also approved the addition of 20 new dinghy wells to be added in the North Lagoon, this project is to be completed by Memorial Day 1993.

1991 – The Club sent the red Farmall Tractor to a local rehabilitation center for a complete overhaul and rebuilding. Also we completed the Dinghy Lagoon with all new galvanized docks and wood pilings.

1990 – The Club finished the two gazebos and added decking around them. The Club purchased a new Ford lawn cutting tractor. The Fall brought the start of the rebuilding of the Dinghy Well Lagoon.

1989 – This year brought some major additions to our Club with the building of two gazebos by Club members at the beach area. We also painted and re-carpeted the Club House.

1988 – gave us the enjoyment of seeing green grass and a high and dry island. We also now have a very complete and operational kitchen which we were able to acquire at salvage prices with the help of Len Williams P/C. We added a pole barn for all of our equipment. The Club now has new sprinkling equipment and in the fall new large dingy wells were added at the end of the South Lagoon along with four new large boat wells.

1987 – Completed the seawall project. Also with Membership Labor, the club built a new play area for the children, purchased by the Mates. Planted 38 new trees around the island, laid sod & planted grass on the Southwest area of the island, and installed all new electrical service to the South Lagoon on the North & West Walls. The Club also negotiated a new lease with the State of Michigan with a 25 year extension thus renewing our present lease to the year 2063, thanks to Doug Busbey P/C.

1986 – Completed the North end seawall, landscaping & electrical projects. Also, installed with Membership Labor was a complete drain system around the Club House, tennis courts and garage areas. With an assessment of $1,000.00 per active member, the Club undertook the major task to secure the entire island with seawall.

1985 – The remaining work to the Clubhouse was completed and celebrated. The North Lagoon continued to suffer land erosion due to high water. Our membership took positive action by voting a $150,000 debt retirement program which provided funds to seawall the North Lagoon fill-in the land with over 6,000 yards dredged from the lagoon and install a modern electrical system. The mates contributed a much needed outdoor sound system.

1984 – This year the Club undertook several major projects. The Clubhouse was expanded to include a caretaker’s apartment, brand new and larger men’s and ladies bathrooms, a much needed increase capacity septic system and a covered patio. The Clubhouse was also completely redecorated with new carpet, paint and furnishings. Much to the relief of our members and Clay Township, we were able to remove the caretaker’s trailer from the island.

1983 – Early Spring arrived wet, windy and rainy, along with high water. Swim island was identified by a dock protruding from the water! North Lagoon docks were partially submerged. In the first week of May, a tornado passed northeast of the island; gratefully we suffered only minor damage. The pump house was replaced, plans for the Clubhouse were prepared and reviewed and approved. The garage acquired a drill press and a bench/cabinet/sink assembly. Needed replacement of spiles and rebuilding of some docks in the North Lagoon was completed. Plans for remodeling the Clubhouse were approved and included quarters for the caretaker and upgrading of the septic system.

1982 – Progress continued. CRBC joined the Harsen’s Island – St. Clair Flats Association. Lagoon entrances were dredged and lights installed on the entrance signs. First time ever, the trees were trimmed on the island. Two golf carts were purchased for authorized use and proved their usefulness quickly. A 32’ pontoon hull was purchased to be remodeled into a “barge” to reduce hauling costs. A part of the North Lagoon at swim island was dredged which will allow more swing room for boats.

1981 – An era of accelerated progress began. Additional expansion to the Clubhouse was being considered. The tennis courts were re-coated and the West wall of the South Lagoon was finished. A portable oxygen unit was donated to the Club and new tennis screens were installed. Dinghy harbor received new docks and new screens were placed on the Clubhouse. Drain pipes were installed in low areas on the island and patio blocks were placed at the cooking and tennis areas.

1980 – The North wall of the South Lagoon (300’), received needed repairs, and repairs began on the West wall of the South Lagoon. Tennis courts were re-seamed. Because sand was clogging the shower heads, water filters were installed. The Planning Committee began in earnest to assess the Island’s future requirements.

1979 – A new dinghy area, 40’ of seawall along the Westside of the South Lagoon was built to accommodate a few of the larger dinghy’s. We repaired the Middle Channel wall break. The West end of the North Lagoon also received 200’ of new steel seawall. The Michigan Legislature passed the “Wetlands Bill;” Clay Township, Harsen’s Island and St. Clair Flats, for a defense committee and the season ended with a possible threat to our efforts to acquire the island.

1978 – Machinery needed repairing and mud piles from dredging required leveling. The electrical and spile replacement project on the West side of the South Lagoon was completed. The bridge to the Swim Island was raised. We gained an additional pinball machine, bumper pool table and a new large portable grill. Increased use of the showers required time limiters to be installed. The Mates efforts resulted in a new wet-dry vac and teen furniture.

1977 – The season started with replacement of broken and rotted piling, including quite a few dock supporting piling. The new piling is steel pipe which should last longer. After much to-do with the D.N.R., a 10-year permit to do dredging was finally official, and dredging of both entrances was started because of the lower water level. The bridge over Obitz Cut was removed, partly to help with the dredging and to replace bridge supports. The Mates again supported the club by purchasing benches for the tennis courts and clocks for the courts and clubhouse. New plastic seat covers for the furniture and a sound system were supplied. Donated rose bushes and edging material made three beautiful rose plantings around the clubhouse. As Fall came on, electrical work, to bring the west side of the South Lagoon up to the same standards as the east side, was started, to be completed by the Spring of 1978.

1976 – the east side of the South Lagoon looked like a disaster area before the bull dozing and back-fill work was completed on the new steel wall, completed in the Fall of 1975. To cover the backfill, new sod was ordered and laid in place by members. The electrical work, consisting of new pedestals and wiring was also completed. Electrical wiring in the North Lagoon was fixed and two new pedestals were installed. A new drainage system consisting of two large basins, pipe trenching, and covers for the basins were installed as part of a filter-drain for the clubhouse. The ever faithful Farmall Cub Tractor was given a new lease on life with a new engine installation. The Mates were again very helpful. New furniture was purchased, subsidized with the proceeds of a special dinner for that purpose. A new vacuum cleaner was purchased and a shower and patio stones for the children to rinse the sand off when playing at the beach was installed.

1975 – First boaters to Club Island in the spring could see the slight drop in water level. It was a welcome sight, but the bridge over Obitz Cut ended in water instead of on land as the erosion continued. Spring maintenance started with replacement of rotted pilings, plugging holes in the South Lagoon seawall and the Planning Committee assessing the electrical service problems. Two new boat-wells were built on the east side of the South Lagoon using steel sheeting in anticipation of sheeting the entire lagoon. The outer wall of the dinghy docks was extended to provide additional protection there. The Board, acting on the recommendation of the Planning Committee, had the North Lagoon electrical service reworked and some repairs made for the South Lagoon. Restroom floors were tiled, walls painted, and in the Ladies’ head, wallpaper and new curtains were added. New bamboo curtains, table and chair caddies were purchased for the clubhouse. The kitchen was renovated; floor and wall tiled, painted, and two new large Formica covered work tables were donated to cover the stoves. This project delighted all the committees who use this area. Late in the fall, the Board made the final decision to start the replacement of the South Lagoon seawall’s, starting at the south end and to include the entire east side, including all new electrical power. The work began in November, and the wall was completed as ice filled the lagoon, entrapping the contractor’s equipment for the winter.

1974 – again a year of high water and much work to be done: back-filling and grading for the new bulk-heading, grading of land on the entrance, north side of South Lagoon. Sump pumps were installed to carry away water standing in low areas, along with sand bagging the North Lagoon shores to keep the water out. A pledge campaign was started to raise money necessary to build two tennis courts in the area of the original Tot Lot. The play equipment was moved to a new location near the beach. A real monumental task ensued to construct two regulation courts and a combination basketball court along with back stop fences, resulting in a beautiful addition to our Club. This project was spearheaded by then Commodore John Boll. All of the equipment, cement, gravel, sand, and two huge transit cement trucks were barged to the Island from the Clinton River. For instance: 237 tons of stone, 112 tons of fill sand, 180 tons of mason sand and 1400 bags of cement, plus graders, bulldozer’s and cranes. Finally, the finishing touches were added: grading and filling completed, sod laid around the new courts, and grass seed sown. The Mates donated a sunshade for the Clubhouse to prevent fading of the Past Commodore’s pictures, new pedestal and wall-mounted fans, redwood furniture
and drapes, a water slide for the beach and a large load of trees, planted around the Island to further enhance its beauty.

1973 – found the grounds covered with reeds and debris carried over the land by the winter storms and the continuing plague of high water. The Muscamoot Bay side of the Island was washed away to within a few feet from the south end of South Lagoon. An order to throw up a dike along this area was acted upon at once, until a decision could be made on what course of action would be taken to eliminate the problem. A General Membership meeting was held at the Island and approval was given to use reserve funds and secure a bank loan to bulkhead the Bay side from the entrance of the South Lagoon to the dinghy area, some 1700 feet in all. The dinghy area was also a disaster, 800 feet of all-new steel bulkheading was installed, as well as restoring the docks. It was also necessary to raise 14 docks in the South Lagoon which were under water. The Mates donated a new facing for the fireplace and new wood paneling was installed to hold all the Past Commodore’s pictures. The floor was tiled and new carpeting installed to finish the interior of the Clubhouse.

1972 – the trash disposal problem was resolved by purchasing (8) Dumpsters which were barged to the mainland. The trash pit was covered to make a much neater entrance to the Island. The steel seawall started in 1971 on the Middle Channel side of the Island (to connect the previously installed seawall on Obitz Cutand the entrance to the South Lagoon) was in place and back-filled by Fall. A 200’ opening was made to provide a beautiful sand beach near the pump house. The Mates purchased and installed new accent lights for the Clubhouse and a large spotlight for the flag pole. The newly remodeled kitchen, including new storage and power vent-hood over the stoves, received the final coats of paint.

1971 – marked another year of high water. Steel seawall was installed around the garage and the entrance of the South Lagoon to protect the shore and establish an area for the new Dumpsters, and a platform to hold them, in preparation for trash removal. The most outstanding item of the year was the purchase and installation of a new equipment and storage building to house the tractors and other equipment needed for maintenance of the Island.

1970 – the original Obitz Cut was closed, and a new channel opened; 235’ of steel seawall made the North Lagoon safer from the wash of passing boats. A new pump-house and two new large capacity pumps were purchased. The Clubhouse was remodeled and a new ceiling and lighting fixtures installed.

1964 – the water for swimming was declared unsafe, so a new beach, complete with diving board and foot bridge from the main island, was constructed.

1962 – marked the year that club members were able to enjoy breakfasts and parties under cover.

1961 – sod was laid in a six-foot area around the South Lagoon. Also in 1961 the cement was laid for the clubhouse building.

1960 – August Markus presented an entire plan for the further development of Club Island. This plan included drawings for the clubhouse as well as boat wells, electrical and plumbing layouts. In fact, at one point he devised a “Markus Goldberg” potable water system and it worked. Equipment was also purchased for maintaining the Island. The Island was maintained and the service to island equipment was done by Dick Sarns from 1956 to 1964 at no charge to the club except for parts.

1959 – Electricity was installed by R.E. Parsons, but soon proved inadequate.

1958 – grass seed was sown, but there was still no progress on getting electricity to the island.

1957 – it was agreed to convert the club to a non-profit corporate status. This meant an eventual increase in dues, and a requirement that each member must own one share of $10 common stock as a condition of membership. Also, anyone who felt able could further contribute by purchasing preferred stock, non-interest bearing, at $10 per share. By May of 1957, the progress included dredging of an entrance channel to a depth of 12’, dredging of a turning basin, installation of docks to accommodate boats up to 40’ in length, and a dry recreational area for the 250 members.

1956 – The summer was spent in feverish activity by Club members, who wielded shovels, rakes, sledge hammers, etc. On Sunday, September 30, 1956, with 33 boats at the docks and approximately 200 members and their families, the new property was formally dedicated. The official ceremonies were begun with a prayer by member Robert H. Wright, and a blessing by Monsignor Skrzycki of Mt. Clemens, followed by the introduction of the then Commodore Gerrit Schamhart. He described the accomplishment, complimented the membership for their interest and enthusiasm, and predicted great things for the future. Hunter Judd, a Director, properly named our acquisition “Club Island” and it was also agreed that l.D. cards in the form of yearly stickers be issued to each member, to be prominently displayed on their boat.

1955 – twenty acres of property consisting of an island located just off Lake St. Clair between the Middle Channel waterway and the area described as Muscamoot Bay was selected. The property seemed to be mostly swamp and had been in possession of Henry Obitz since 1914. Under the able guidance of Stanley Pelitier, countless details were worked out and the idea presented to the general membership who unanimously endorsed it. The Club sponsored the Sea Scout Ship, S.S. Ranger #147 from 1955 through 1958.

1951 – Following the 1950 annual meeting, Vice Commodore Richard Sarns sent a letter to all members, announcing “the Clinton River Boat Club is sponsoring a class in Pleasure Craft Operation & Maintenance with the ultimate goal of forming a Power Squadron.” On March 5, 1951, 14 members were present for the first organizational meeting of the Mount Clemens Power Squadron. Past Commodore Wallace Gerlach nominated Stanley Peltier to be the first Commander. Stan was a CRBC Director and editor of the newsletter. Mr. Peltier suggested that the Mount Clemens Power Squadron be considered primarily an educational organization and that care be taken not to have it interfere with the social aspects of CRBC. Seven CRBC Past Commodores are charter members of the Mt. Clemens Power Squadron.

1949 – the forerunner of our present roster was 4”x 6 1/2” and consisted of 23 pages. It included member’s names, city, boat name, and a short history as well as the constitution. The next years saw an even greater increase in members, including boaters from Detroit, Royal Oak, Farmington, Birmingham, Pontiac and Rochester. Summer cruises were planned and winter parties on shore were organized, but a need was felt for a permanent clubhouse.

1948 – the CRBC put up matching funds with the Michigan Waterways Commission to dredge and widen the entrance to the Clinton River.

1945 – Trombly assembled all the necessary material on a make-shift barge and started at the foot of 9 Mile Road towed with a 24’ Chris Craft. Several miles off shore one of those unexpected storms usual for Lake St. Clair came up. The barge was lost after pulling out the cleats on the tow boat. It ended up on shore near 12 Mile Road. The next day the barge was picked up and finally made it to the Old Club. During the next week Trombly and one of his sons erected the docks, driving the piles by hand. It was soon found that any and all boats were using the docks, other than Clinton River Boat Club members. During the winter the ice wrecked the dock and that ended the first attempt. Some other highlights were the meetings at Gowanie Golf Club. Arrangements were made with Alex MacDonald, the manager, to hold all meetings and parties at Gowanie.

1942 – the Club had grown to 52 members. Our first attempt to establish our own facility was made in 1945. Chris Matthews, who was a State Senator received permission from U.S. Corp of Engineers and Dept. of Natural Resources to build a landing dock on what we called Government Island which is South of the Old Club on the South Channel. Wallace S. Gerlach made arrangements with Albert Trombly from St. Clair Shores to construct a dock on the North end of the Island.

1940 – the club organized a Reserve Coast Guard Flotilla, #71, and also enrolled as a member of the Inter- Lakes Yachting Association. At the close of 1940 there were 36 members on the roster.

February 19, 1940 – the Clinton River Boat Club of Mt. Clemens, Michigan was founded by a group of local boaters interested in cruising, good fellowship, and boating safety. The annual dues were nominal and activities were limited to cruises in summer and shore parties in winter. The charter membership count totaled 22 under the guidance of Commodore J. R. Doll. John Ott made the motion to name the fledgling club The Clinton River Boat Club. The club burgee was designed by Msgr. J. C. Mies. On March 11, 1940, the Constitution and By-Laws were formed and a Board of Directors was elected.



More Club Information