The Town River Yacht Club boasts three hundred fifty members, a two hundred plus boat marina, junior floats for over twenty five sailboats, and land facilities for the winter storage of all these boats-a far cry from our humble beginnings one hundred years ago. Under the leadership of Mr. Eugene R. Stone, a former mayor of Quincy, twenty local boat owners decided to form a boat club under the name Town River Yacht Club. Mr. Stone was elected our first Commodore with Jethro R. Mellen, Vice Commodore, Elijah P. Barrows, Secretary, and Arthur A. Richardson, Treasurer. They later applied for and received a charter for incorpo-ration as a yacht club. This charter presently hangs in the members’ room bear-ing the signatures of the original charter members.
It was decided in December of 1919 that the original clubhouse, which was located up river just beyond the gas tanks, was no longer adequate for its rapidly growing membership. In May of 1920, under the guidance of Peter Ander-son, the clubhouse was relocated down river to the property where we are today. Through the efforts of Peter’s brother Fred, Fore River Ship Yard loaned Town River Yacht Club a lighter (barge) to assist in the move. The relocation of the clubhouse was made possible only by the efforts of the members and their boats.
The land that was purchased was very muddy and marshy, yet there was one redeeming feature to this land purchase, a large band of sand and gravel at the back of the property. Under the direction of Commodore Bill Caldwell, the members toiled every day after their regular work hours and on weekends with shovels, wheelbarrows, planks and picks, digging into the gravel beds, carting down and spreading it to fill up holes and make the land usable. This work was completed between May and September enabling the club to hold an Open House on October 12, 1920, to which all local clubs were invited.
Due to the expenses incurred by the move, the club had hard sledding from 1920 to 1930, but under the guidance of Commodores Bill Caldwell and Francis E. McDonald, the club again prospered to the point where the member-ship was temporarily closed. Up Until the late 1930’s, the members had access to the floats through the use of two barges and a ramp. It was at this time the original pier was built and here again all the work was done by the members including driving the pil-ings.
The ever growing membership again made it necessary to expand. Hence, in 1947, $20,000 was placed in a Building Fund. After due consideration in August, 1948, member Roy McPherson was authorized to draw up the plans for and supervise the construction of a new building. The building was completed where it now stands in December, 1948 and by January 1, 1949, the moving operation was complete. Later, the old clubhouse was completely demolished and removed. In 1956 it became necessary to begin extensive repairs to the clubhouse because the northeast corner had, and was continuing to, settle. Piles were driven under the floor as well as extensive re-modeling. Under the guidance of John Robertson, Jr. another room was added to the clubhouse with out any cost for a contractor. This was completed in 1960 and is now known as the Commodore’s Locker. Here again, as in the past, all the work was done by the members at work parties, a policy that is prevalent at Town River Yacht Club, where the members are all for one and one for all.
In 1978 Town River Yacht Club continued to expand by purchasing the property adjacent to the west from the Shea family. In 1981 the club purchased land adjacent and to the west of recently purchased property from Mr. And Mrs. Herbert Duane. The addition of these properties enabled the club to expand the marina to the extent it is today as well as providing more room for parking and boat storage.
In addition to the club’s three hundred fifty senior membership, Town River Yacht Club has a Junior program of over one hundred members. The Jun-ior program began in 1938 but was temporarily delayed because of the war. In 1950, the program was revived with added impetus. In 1951, the club purchased twenty-six Turnabouts which composed the largest class racing sailboat fleet. A short time later, an instructor was hired, a former Junior, Donald MacArthur, to instruct the Juniors in sailing, racing, swimming, and other nautical instruction. During our Golden Anniversary in 1961, under Commodore Kenneth E. Yoerger, Sr., Town river hosted the National One Design Sailboat World Championship Series. In Addition to the Turnabout fleet, a Laser fleet was initiated in 1981. Over the years the Juniors have represented the club in may regattas all over the northeast coast. We are proud of their accomplishments.
In 1986, the year of our Diamond Anniversary, we installed a new electri-cal system, purchased a Brownell hauling system (the original system was a horse drawn Capstan), and made numerous other improvements. All done by the working membership.
In 2009, we installed Elizabeth (Betty) Knowles as Commodore. She is our first woman commodore.
In 2011, we celebrated our 100th anniversary! We had many functions to celebrate our centennial year. A DVD slide show was made with pictures from the past. Our historian, Ellen Yeorger, prepared a yearbook with pictures and a detailed history of the club gathered from the meeting minutes, local library, and city hall.
Town River Yacht Club is made up of men, women and families, who together, work for the good of the club and each other.