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Clinton River Boat Club

Sailing / Yacht Club , Mt. Clemens, Michigan, United States

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 caretakers 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 froma 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 reroofed. 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 docksand 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 recarpeted the Club House.

1988 – gave us the enjoyment of seeing green grass anda 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, layed 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, 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 caretakers apartment, brand new and larger mens 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 caretakers 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’ pontoonhull 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 courtswere 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 dinghys. 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. TheMates 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 everfaithful 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 boatwells 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 caddieswere 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 bulkheading, 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 waswashed 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 atonce, 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 venthood 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 theIsland.

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 pumphouse 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 boatwells, 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 progresson 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 commonstock 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 Skyzycki 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.

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