INDIAN HILLS BOAT CLUB
Indian Hill Boat Club (IHBC) was organized in 1955 by a small group of businessmen and residents who decided to form a boat club within the city limits of Maumee. After lengthy negotiations, Rilla Hull agreed to lease the property across River Road from her home, the historic Wolcott house. The site had figured prominently in the early history of Maumee; from about 1835 to 1850 it was known as Upper Steamboat Landing and was the location of the shipbuilding operation of Miss Hullís great-grandfather, Judge James Wolcott. She stipulated that any construction would leave untouched the northwest corner of the property, which was the site of an Indian burial plot known as Indian Hill. The five-year renewable lease called for a rental fee of $1.00 per month per member with a $25.00 per month minimum.
After clearing the underbrush from the steep hill to gain access to the river, members constructed fixed docks consisting of one main section and two stringers, which accommodated eight boats in 1955. The year of 1956 proved to be a year of great activity and growth with construction of a driveway, parking lot, seawall and the installation of a hoist. Docks were expanded to accommodate 18 to 20 boats. With the design of a burgee, IHBC became a full-fledged boat club.
The docks have been modified and expanded several times over the years. By 1964 all docks had been converted to floaters using steel drums with wooden decks. In 1973 steel decks replaced the wood and in 1986 plastic drums replaced the steel flotation drums. In 1984 a 15-ton crane was purchased making the club self-sufficient in installing, removing and storing our docks.
Club facilities were constructed beginning with a concrete patio poured in 1961 and roofed in 1964. Picnic tables and gas grills were added which made the facility a great place for member and club parties. A play area welcomes young children. Restrooms were built in 1974 and the old tool shed were replaced by the "Oar House" consisting of a storage room, heads, shower and a kitchen in 1985. A gas dock for members was added in 1965 and a pump-out station in 1974. Major renovation of the seawall was completed in 1984.
Indian Hill Boat Club has been plagued by natural and man-made disasters because of the current in the Maumee River. Ice jams, high water and even an oil spill have taken their toll. In 1968 several sections of stored wood docks were carried away by the ice, they were found a few years later being used as work rafts at Harrisonís Marina. In 1981 boats were evacuated and high water sank and damaged many steel dock sections. Since that time "come-along", devices to raise and redistribute weight on the docks, have been added so that no sections have been lost even though high water has required boats to be evacuated. We are very grateful to Maumee River Yacht Club and other clubs along the river for temporarily accepting our displaced crafts.
In 2001 members purchased the property from St. Paulís Episcopal Church, who had been our landlord since Rilla Hullís death. We have docking facilities for 36 boats and a possible membership of 40 regular and 5 social members. At-home social functions and cruises are well attended.
In the year 2004, under the direction of Commodore Mike Suleski, the old wooden patio was torn down and a new structure of steel and aluminum was erected. The vision of a couple of members led to the addition in 2007 of a working lighthouse. It was a great addition to our clubís pavilion.
Today Indian Hill Boat Club looks forward to a bright and promising future. Our beautiful location across from the Metroparks Audubon Islands is secluded, but has access to all activities on the Maumee River and beyond.
IHBC history update 2019
In the past few years we have continued to deal with the wrath of Mother Nature. Our docks have broken away twice in the past 10 years and collapsed one year, but did not break away. These catastrophes have only strengthened the bond of our members as all have worked diligently to get the docks repaired and back in the water to enjoy what was left of the boating season each year. We have purchased a work pontoon to assist with the high water situations and it is a great asset with the in and out of the docks each year. The club installed a retaining wall at the bottom of the hill to help slow down the erosion of the hill and to strengthen the foundation. We have added isinglass to the patio so members can continue to use the deck in foul weather and into the fall. We have also added a fire pit, which was a great addition and is used often. Landscaping is currently underway with wildflowers up on the upper portion of the hill to give the scenery a more natural look. With the addition of several new members throughout the past few years, the make-up of the club has changed. We spend a lot more time on the river, visiting the other clubs, dinner at the docks and many night cruises. In addition to participating in the AYC and ILYA events, the club sports a big presence at the Promedica Concerts series in downtown Toledo on Friday nights and at the sand bar on Sundays, where we will typically have 8-12 loaded boats grillin and chillin and flying the club burgee. We continue to host a stop for the TSC and BVYC color cruises near the end of the season every year. If you get a chance, please stop down at the club or join us at the concerts or sand bar.