ELBA-MAR BOAT CLUB

Orville Brown and Ray Hoover got together and started working on the idea of a marina and boat club in the 1950-1951 era with no definite plans. On January 2, 1953, an application was made to Grosse Ile Township for a permit to operate a boat basin. Elba-Mar Boat Club became an official entity on February 20th, 1953 with the filing of the articles of incorporation with the State of Michigan.

On April 30, 1953 a "show cause" and a " restraining order" were issued in Circuit Court of Wayne County against Mr. Brown and Mr. Hoover by the action of Grosse Ile Township to stop them from building docks, piers, or other facilities since, it appeared, they had no zoning certificate. This went back and forth a while as these things often do. Again on July 20, 1953, another "show cause" and a " restraining order" were issued to stop proceedings. Finally, after much discussion, all parties agreed that work could continue if a clubhouse could be built and completed by October 1954. So, with this promise, the founding fathers of Elba-Mar Boat Club cast forth the beginning.

There were 113 wells in 1953. The initiation fee was $10.00, dues were $12.00 and you paid $2.00 per foot to tie your boat to a tree trunk or stake in the bank. Mr. Hoover started dredging the harbor, which was mostly swampland. He dredged it to the basic horseshoe shape of today. In the winter of 1953, Mr. Roy Hoover and some members installed a 3" pipe rail around the shore and the boaters finally had something solid to which they could tie their boats. Roy Hoover and Orville Brown, assisted by some club members, also built the clubhouse to comply with the court injunction.

When the Club was formed, Mr. Brown and Mr. Hoover were the landlords and the Club was the tenant. The Club paid $120.00 per year in rent. Initiation fees and dues went to the Club.

Dockage and storage went to the landlords. The original area was referred to as Elba-Mar Marsh, hence the name.

In 1956, Orville Brown was self-appointed Commodore and George Smith started the Saturday night dances for the teenagers of the club for a small fee. The dances were later changed to free dances on Saturday night, a tradition that still continues today.

Roy Hoover was the first ever-elected Commodore of the club in 1957. The original Board of Directors included Cecilia Brown and Vi Hooper.

On January 20, 1959, Elba-Mar Boat Club received notice that they were accepted into the Inter-Lake Yachting Association. The official date of Acceptance was recorded on December 7, 1958. At that time, there were 73 clubs in the I-LYA family.

In the 1959/1960 era, a group of wives of the club members met numerous times at the home of Bill and Lou Armstrong. The result of these informal meetings was the foundation of the ladies auxiliary called the Elba-Marettes. The Women of this valuable organization, from that time to the present, have raised large amounts of money that have been used to not only improve the Club, but the community. They organize and sponsor various Family events at the Club as well as raise funds for several charities in the community.

 In June of 1962, Mr. Hoover informed the Club of his intent to sell the property. He offered Elba-Mar Boat Club the first option to purchase; but there were other parties showing interest in buying the property, including Great Lakes Steel Corporation. The Price was set at $230,000 with a $57,000 down payment expected. A club meeting was called, and the members were informed that an assessment of $300 per member would be required to make the down payment. The membership turned down the change to make the purchase. If they could get 50 people to put up $1,000 each, they could keep Elba-Mar Boat Club intact. Meetings between July and October of 1962 resulted in the formation of the Grosse lle Development Incorporated. July 16, 1962 war the first official meeting of GIDI. This meeting was held in Lee Dumas’ basement. Only 44 members were willing to invest the $1,000 needed instead of the 50 required to make the idea work. So these 44 people dug a little deeper and came up with $1140 each to save the club. A complete list of the original members of GIDI could not be found. There were 44 people originally involved; and in the middle 1970’s, other members bought into the GIDI. A separate history of the GIDI could be a book of its own.