MAUMEE RIVER YACHT CLUB
Since pre-history the Maumee River has been a navigational artery of the area. However, recreational boating did not become an element until the mid 19th century, and "boat houses" appeared on its shores. Two such establishments (now called marinas) were located at the foot of Congress Street in South Toledo. One was Stickles Boat House; the other, Slavins. With the advent of the Toledo Yacht Club, the group at Slavins decided to call themselves the "Upriver Yacht Club". There being rivalry between the two houses, the Stickles group decided to identify their location by calling themselves the "MAUMEE RIVER YACHT CLUB". Both groups were loosely knit, with the proprietors of the two boathouses acting as the titular heads thereof.
In the dead of winter of 1899 (January 17th to be exact) the group at Stickles formally organized as the Maumee River Yacht Club, with none other than G.W. Stickles being the first Commodore of Record; and his establishment being the first clubhouse of MRYC. Gradually the group at Slavins Boat House gravitated to the "club" and that organization faded into history. They moved the headquarters downtown to occupy the entire second floor (very handsomely fitted out and equipped) of a building on the North East corner of Madison and Erie Streets which was razed to build the Toledo Home Federal Building, which is now know as the Louisville Title Company Building.
P/C George Peters has a picture of P/C Neil Larson turning the first shovel of dirt to build the present clubhouse in 1911. It was a building 45 X 25 with a wide veranda on the East (river) side of the building. This veranda was enclosed on the first floor to enlarge the dining room in later alterations.
In the synopsis of MRYCs history, Paul Bowers, a truly dedicated man of boating, wrote for the Associated Yacht Clubs 1969 yearbook: "In 1922, while Dr. Royal Hall was Commodore of the Toledo Canoe Club, (he was also a member of Maumee River Yacht Club) that group merged with MRYC. " At that time, the Tap Room was a dirt floored basement where the canoes were stored. Dr. Hall later became a Commodore of MRYC from 1934 to 1936.
Percy Jones, son of Mayor Sam "Golden Rule" Jones, was Commodore of MRYC from 1911 to 1916, and through his influence the land for the clubhouse was obtained. Of considerable importance was his influence in obtaining the funds for the bulkhead that stands today against the yearly ice jams. When the grinding punch of ice smashed into the timbers that hold the foundation of the clubhouse, we hope that bulkhead still holds for another year.
From the late twenties to the sixties, the fireworks on the island across from MRYC drew crowds that lined the riverbanks for miles. Elmer Holst, an industrialist associated with dredging and building supplies, was chairman of the fireworks celebration for twenty-five years (MRYC provided the fireworks during this time).
It was long the dream of P/C Maury Johnson, P/C Larry Senn, and P/C Kent Kaignin for the Club to have a swimming pool. In the late sixties and early seventies, P/C Kaighin spearheaded the group that hurdled the legal and other obstacles to make MRYC among the first local yacht clubs to have a pool.
The dirt basement is now the very popular Tap Room. The space occupied by the sail lockers for the large MRCY Comet-Class fleet is now the Boutique, dance floor, and pool table.
At the time, the clubhouse was built, "facilities" were being moved into the houses; and the city fathers (ever on the alert for revenue) imposed a tax on each one. This accounts for us only having two and many of the Old West End homes being "under-bath roomed". The latest improvement is the construction of a magnificent deck, which also provides drip-proof shelter to the Patio below. Through all the improvements to the building, however, it still maintains the appearance of a stately Southern mansion.
Paul Bowers article for the AYC 1969 Yearbook
Peggy Kaighins article for "The Bend of the River" September 1984, Issue with member recollections.