Written by John Kunz
posted on November 13, 2018 12:32
During the early 1900s, the Thousand Islands were a beehive of activity. Yacht Clubs and Hunt Clubs sprung up from Cape Vincent to Ogdensburg. The Gold Cup flourished; the"number-boat races" took off. Some of these clubs thrived and exist to this day; others not so much.
The Oswegatchie Yacht Club in Ogdensburg was a club that had a brief and not very well documented run. It was established in 1906. The entrance fee was $10.00 with yearly dues of $6.00. The officers of 1906 were listed as Commodore: Felix Hulser, Vice Commodore: W.A. Bowers; Secretary: Charles Ives and Treasurer: W. E. Westbrook. Their burgee was a dark triangle with the letters OYC superimposed upon each other in a lighter color circle. No color image seems to have survived.
The club was named after the Oswegatchie River that flows into the St. Lawrence at Ogdensburg. Oswegatchie is an Indian name that translates roughly to: The Place of the Dark Waters. When I was a kid, I asked someone what Oswegatchie meant. They quickly replied, “Oh that’s Indian for horse we got you.”
The clubhouse was at the foot of State St. right on the banks of the St. Lawrence. The Club maintained P.O. Box 58 for correspondence. During 1912, the Oswegatchie Yacht Club held its Regatta on the 4th of July. The one-design trophy that year was won by D.H. Lyon, in his number boat “Betty” number 6. Also, of note in the 1912 newspaper clipping are the names E. L. Strong and J.C. Howard. They were both members of the Chippewa Yacht Club. Andrew Irving is mentioned. His exploits as an outdoorsman are well documented in the book about the Pontiac Club, frequented by Frederic Remington. The name of the book is ‘They went to Heaven before they died.’
An Ogdensburg Advance article from 1913 announced that theCclub had built a lawn bowling green and had two tennis courts in the works. They had scheduled an annual cruise that was to depart the Yacht Club dock enroute to “Allan’s Dock’s”. Transportation was available to members by boat or automobile. At Allan’s Docks, there was a banquet and “the finest overnight accommodations”.
The last reference to the Club is a short notice in the Ogdensburg Advance, on Dec. 31, 1933. It read: “Oswegatchie Yacht Club property to be sold in foreclosure proceedings.” The Depression was apparently too much for the club.
By John Kunz
John Kunz and his wife Kelly are summer residents of Chippewa Bay. They winter in Watertown, NY. Along with their three sons, they enjoy the River on a four-season basis - Sailing, Rock Climbing and Skijoring. In October 2018, John wrote about the Thousand Islands Cup. Be sure to see this one. Also, in February 2016, John took us Skijoring in the Thousand Islands. Read that article again, so you are ready for Winter 2019!