SWAN BOAT CLUB
In the early summer of 1948, the late Victor Haener invited a group of men to meet with him at what is now know as the Mary Carter Park, located at the end of Frey Boulevarde and the Swan Creek, to discuss the possibilities of forming a boat club. After several hours of exchanges of ideas, an organizational plan was adopted and the men in this group set out an intensive membership drive to secure the money necessary to finance this project. By soliciting friends, neighbors, relatives, and business associates, enough money was raised, at $5.00 initiation fee per member, to purchase a small cottage for the clubhouse. The following officers were elected and installed on August 12, 1948: Vic Haener, Commodore; Jasper Hopkins, Vice Commodore; Roy Neveau, Rear Commodore; John Hopkins, Secretary; Carl Feinagle, Treasurer; and Don Fodor, Clayton Niedermeier, James Randolph, and Roscoe Tyner, Directors. Application was made to the State for a Charter, which was granted on Sept. 13, 1948. In the ensuing years, more property was acquired and the facility began to expand to what the clubhouse is today.
The work of remodeling the original cottage at that time and the construction of the later sections was accomplished on a volunteer basis by the members just as it is today, who devoted many, many hours of their time and talents to make the club one of the finest in the area.
In the early days much of the success and growth of the club was due to the dedication and leadership of Vic Haener. Vic served five terms as Commodore and held an office in the club from its beginning until the untimely tragic accident occurred that caused his death. One time during the early sixties, the club boasted a membership of 495 members.
Swan became affiliated with leading national and local boat associations shortly after its organization. It is now a member of the Interlake Yachting Association and Associate Yacht Clubs. It now sponsors a chapter of the International Order of the Blue Gavel. Its membership card is accepted at nearly all boat and yacht clubs in the United States & Canada.
The Ladies Auxiliary was organized in the early fifties and has played a most important part in the clubs development. The Lades have spent many long hours in the kitchen and working of various committees. Their devotion to duty and especially their financial support have contributed greatly to the success of the club. Past Presidents are sponsored into an organization known as the International Satin Gavel.
The club has had many ups and downs throughout the years, especially the near disasters of the floods in 1952 and 1973 when the membership dropped to 42 members. The north shore of Swan Creek by nature was always plagued by southwesterly winds, which played havoc on boats docked at the club. In time passing, the members built a makeshift berm (breakwall) offshore where they used oil drums for floatation and used steel portable airplane runways to hold bric-a-brac to fend off the SW winds; corrosion had its way and much of it sank and exposed the boats to the wind again.
During 1979 the design and construction of the current wood walkway and dike were completed. In 1981, the pavilion was build to save the cost of tents. Also, at this time the mens current bathroom was built. In 1982 the relocation of the bar to its present position with the par patrons, facing the water. Previously the bar sat looking east and the members looked westerly with no view of the water. During 1984, the membership took on the project to build a real rock pile breakwall. It was completed by funds put up by the membership and paid off in approximately three years.
Later on in 1985, with high water conditions prevailing in Lake Erie, the dock height was raised 16" to keep boaters feet out of the water. It was at this time when the patio dock was built and the adjacent dock was assigned to the Commodore "at large". Also with membership increasing, engineering drawings were made and permits obtained from the DNR to add docks to the west end of the second tier walkway. The dock costs were paid for by selling rent space in advance to the dock occupants. In 1986, another dock expansion was engineered for the main south walkway and completed to bring the total number of docks to 100.
In 1988 the pavilion was enclosed, overhead doors installed, and the concrete floor poured. In 1989 the two buildings, the clubhouse and pavilion, were connected with a permanent roof over the breezeway and the inside paneling and other finishing touches took place in the pavilion such as the boat bar being refinished and new bathrooms installed. Also during this year, the US Army Corp. and DNR permits were obtained to dredge the Swan Boat Club Marina. Many members helped with all this and the latter work, as without the help from the membership, and the Ladies Auxiliary, the club obviously would be meaningless.
In 1989 a new 6000 gallon gasoline tank was installed and a new electrical power system had been started which will supply electricity to all docks, pavilion, and the clubhouse providing the club with further outstanding facilities.
In 1992, the club was completely renovated including a new, more modernized, kitchen and a larger second story. However, because of the pavilion, we were able to stay open during this extensive project and once again, a considerable amount of this work was done by the membership.
In 1993, the Ladies Auxiliary and the General Membership purchased two additional acres of land to increase the parking facility. Also in 1993, we added 32 new docks with the same method of selling them as we had done previously which brings out total of docks as of today to 132.
In 1995 and 1996, our outside bathrooms were completely remodeled including a separate facility for handicap access. Also completed in 95-96 by our Blue Gavel and members, was our outdoor barbecue. To date, our pavilion is being remodeled.
Section II of Article 1 of the Constitution and By-laws of the Swan Boat Club states:
"The object of this club shall be the promotion and encouragement of boating for support and pleasure with the emphasis on good fellowship". This outstanding objective as set forth by the founding members in 1948 has always prevailed. Adherence to this rule by the membership has made the Swan Boat Club into the finest in the area.