Our Burgee was designed in the same year (1928) that the Club found a permanent home at Edgewater Park. The red, white and blue colors repeat those found in our nation’s and state flags, but have a different significance. Blue represents a fair weather sky, therefore, the blue triangle should always go to the top. White represents clouds, as well as white caps on the lake waves. Red symbolizes sunrise and sunset, the daylight boating period. The crescent and star suggest nighttime boating and cruising which round out our 24 hour recreational activities.
In 1894, the City of Cleveland bought Edgewater Park from Jacob B. Perkins. The beach to the west became known as Perkin’s Beach.
From 1895 to 1914, the Cleveland Yacht Club had its home on the east side of the East 9th Street pier. In 1914, George Worthington arranged with the Lakewood Yacht Club to pay off that club’s overburdening bond interest obligations incurred with the purchase of Beaver Island in the Rocky River provided the name of the Cleveland Yacht Club be retained. The club abandoned its’ East 9th Street location, loaded its club house onto three barges, changed its name to Cleveland Yachting Club and moved to Rocky River.
In 1910, yachtsmen who preferred to remain at East 9th Street organized the Cleveland Boat Club, obtaining the right to dock their boats in the basin just east of East 9th Street. The Cleveland Boat Club incorporated in 1914 and later changed its name to Edgewater Boat Club, then finally to Edgewater Yacht Club.
In 1926, John H. Cox became Commodore of the Cleveland Metropolitan Yachting Association, a precursor to today’s Greater Cleveland Boating Association. The purpose of the CMYA became that of the Cleveland Boat Club in its articles of incorporation to become the future Edgewater Yacht Club.
In 1928, Cox wrote an article titled “Dividends in Sport” which appeared in The Clevelander, the Chamber of Commerce magazine. Cox wrote, “In this, the writer believes, Clevelanders are allowing to remain unused one of the city’s most valuable recreational assets. If this article accomplishes anything toward “selling” the lake and one of the oldest and finest of all sports to the reader, it will have served its purpose.”
Meanwhile, the city built twin lagoons at Edgewater Park. In the 1920’s, William R. Hopkins became the city’s first and last city manager. His vision and leadership has never been equaled. Hopkins wrote, “I have always favored some provision on the lakefront for small pleasure boats. It is unfortunate that so many Clevelanders are interested in boating as a sport, with no better place to keep their boats than the garbage dump east of East 9th Street. After all, a harbor is not a finished harbor in the true sense of the word unless some provision is made for yachting. Edgewater is an admirable location.”
The city completed a $370,000 bulkhead project and a $100,000 bond issue to dredge the basin to make it safe for small boats. Edgewater Yacht Club moved to Edgewater Park in the mid thirties. Some members remained at East 9th Street, and some members returned from Rocky River, joining together to form Lakeside Yacht Club.
Once located in Edgewater Park, the club became an instant success.
In January 1943 the club issued its first newsletter “The Put-Put”, later to be renamed the “Motor and Mast”.
In early years, members tied anchor lines to boulders, which were dropped into the basin. Then wooden docks were built and speedboat wells were constructed. In winter, the basin would freeze over and dock planks would pop free, so members would walk onto the ice retrieving the planks to be nailed back in place in the spring. In 1958, the steel dock program was initiated thus delineating the clubs footprint in the basin.
The basin had developed an enormous surge problem, which remained unsolved into the 21st Century. A public marina in the southeast corner of the basin was so badly designed that insurance companies refused to cover boats docked there. The club avoided that problem by insisting, to this day, on adequate cleats and lines.
In January 1951 disaster struck the club, a potbellied stove overheated. The resulting fire virtually destroyed the wooden clubhouse. Members rallied to the cause, formed a building corporation and issued notes, assessments were levied, and by Memorial Day 1952, a proud membership opened a new club house. This is now the Chart Room, offices, and the main room of the club.
Club membership continued to grow. By June 1961, the Snug Harbor bar, the Skyline Dining Room, and service facilities were added. Further land-based improvements were made. The inside of the club house was remodeled, restrooms were added, showers and laundry facilities were built. A covered patio area in front was added. A 120 seat pavilion was built overlooking the lake, a very popular children’s playground was built next to the pavilion. A glass atrium doubled the size of the Snug Harbor. Out front, a new gatehouse was built, grassy areas and trees were planted, and the clubhouse was repainted in keeping with the requirements of the State of Ohio, our new leaser.
Administrative changes were made as well. The commodoreship was separated from the chairmanship of the board and the board of trustees was made responsible for financial control of the club.
In 1972, real disaster struck the club. The backside of Hurricane Agnes, with winds from the north, blew for three days. A surge resulted and in full force destroyed most of the old wooden docks. The combination of an aging membership, less than two years remaining of a five year lease extension with the city, and a law department unwilling to renew the clubs lease given the condition of the docks, was the scene that faced the club. The Small Business Administration estimated, and was willing, to loan $100,000 to restore the docks, but only if the club could prove its ownership. Edgewater Yacht Club was a renter, not an owner.
Just then a new banking instrument appeared, the certificate of deposit, covering long terms and providing high interest. Owning no property, the membership invested $40,000 into club owned CDs and ten members committed their personal equity to satisfy the SBA. Thus, Edgewater Yacht Club completed its steel dock program, and obtained a new lease with the City. Membership rebounded from a low of 195 into the 450s and higher demonstrating the attractiveness of Edgewater Yacht Club in Edgewater Park.
Intent on becoming a full service yacht club, a winter storage program was initiated with additional land allowing for installing a travel lift, a pump out facility, a service building, mast storage racks, a fueling facility, and a 240 foot guest dock. Electrical lines and water lines were installed to meet code requirements and a small boat ramp was constructed for the launching of small boats.
Finally, yachting wise, power boating and sailing were almost always included in early regatta instructions. In 1956, the junior sailing program became an immediate success and has grown constantly since, contributing new members who today, are entering leadership positions at Edgewater Yacht Club.
Thirteen women members of the club chartered the Wet Hens in 1963. They wanted to encourage women members to become more actively involved in sailing in the company of other women. For several years, the group used dinghies and sailed competitively against other clubs including competing for the Adams Cup three times. Their emphasis has shifted to learning and improving sailing skills on keelboats including docking, rigging, helming and trimming sails.
On the water, the clubs race course of an equilateral triangle of 25 miles was changed to variable configurations and distances and has earned a reputation far and wide for excellence in race management. In 1980, Edgewater Yacht Club organized its regatta with other events along the Cleveland waterfront to form Cleveland Race Week.
Through the purchase of bonds by the members, a new swimming pool was opened in 2011. A full-service Tiki Bar opened in 2012 and Snack Bar in 2016.
A ground breaking ceremony was held in late October, 2016 for complete renovations inside the Main Clubhouse.
What does the future hold for Edgewater Yacht Club? Join us and become a Member of the "Friendliest Club on the Lake"!