PROGRESS OF THE CLUB
1939 it all began! Following are 3 images of the original minutes from the first meeting and the typed minutes.
On May 30, 1940, authorization was given for the building of a floating Clubhouse, located at the public landing, Otter Point, Maryland. After much discussion, the plan for a floating Clubhouse was discarded and one to be built on pilings was adopted. On July 19, 1940 the Bush River Boat Club became officially incorporated. By August of 1940, the Clubhouse platform, wharf, and boat slips were completed.
The Ladies Auxiliary was formed in November of 1940, greatly strengthening the Club. In the early part of 1941, the first Clubhouse was completed.
During World War II, the activities of the Club were held to a minimum. The Bush River Coast Guard Auxiliary was formed and used the Club house as its headquarters. Along about March 1945, the Boat Club began to get back into stride, the membership was steadily increasing, and the growing pains were beginning to be felt. The Club began looking for a new location. Three properties were considered; the Mitchell property, located south of the railroad bridge, the old Harford Boat Club, near Otter Point, and the former Girl’s Scout Camp Kema, at Long Bar. Camp Kema was bought on August 2, 1945 for $8500. In order to finance the new holdings, the Bush River Boat Club Holding Corporation was formed on August 30, 1945, and stock issued at $25.00 per share.
On November 8, 1945, the first meeting was held at the new Clubhouse. By the spring of 1946, the membership had increased to 175, including 60 boat owners. A pile driver was rented, and in July 1946, the first pier was completed and pilings for the second pier were in place. There were also many improvements to the Clubhouse, namely the enclosure of the porches to form a Ballroom; and a bar, and rest rooms were completed.
The first meeting of Galley Slaves was June 21, 1947 at Warren’s Boat Yard on the Magothy River. Seven Slaves were inducted. The second meeting of Galley Slaves was July 4, 1947 at Damesyn’s Estate on the Bush River. Fifteen slaves were inducted. In the beginning, the Galley Slaves met numerous times during the summer at peoples shore homes or The Elks Club, 307 West Fayette Street (not yacht clubs). It was not until October 26, 1947 when they met at Leach’s Magothy Estate that the initiations with props and blindfolds were started and certificates were presented.
On September 29, 1947, the Club held its first boat races; and its first sanctioned regatta was held later that year. Regatta Year Books were published from 1947 through 1956.
Disaster struck in January 1948, the Clubhouse with all its recent improvements, was destroyed by fire.
The first Queen of the Chesapeake Pageant was held in June 1948. The Bush River Yacht Club Princess won the first pageant. The Club has participated every year since and has had three more winners.
August 1948 marked the completion of the new modern Clubhouse.
The Bush River Power Squadron was formed on 11 June 1949.
1949 saw extensive treatment of the grounds. Paving of the parking area adjacent to the piers and the installation of walkways and sidewalks gave a clean approach to the piers. The Ladies Auxiliary installed window boxes and supplied furnishings for the new Lounge Area. The flag pole was installed in its position on May 28, 1950.
Late in 1955 several new members joined the Club who were interested in sailing and under the leadership of a newly appointed Sail Fleet Captain, a program was started for the coming year. This has evolved into the Junior Fleet.
In 1956, a completely new “A” pier was built.
During 1957, the Club became the first on the bay to have a full sized Olympic swimming pool. During the year of 1957, the documents started showing a new name “Bush River Yacht Club, Inc”. Bush River Yacht Club was a charter member of the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Club Association which was formed on 25 September 1957.
June 1958, an opening day Bush River Boat Club Burgee was published. 1959 seems to be the year that The Burgee began being published on a monthly basis. In 1958, disaster struck again and fire destroyed the Clubhouse that had been built only ten years before.
A new and more modern Clubhouse was built during 1959. Also, a new “B” pier and dock and bath house was constructed.
In 1960, a bath house to serve the swimming pool was constructed. (Now the Junior Fleet room)
With a large increase in boating members, a “C” pier was constructed in 1964; and during the same year, the Captains Lounge was added to the Clubhouse.
1965 saw the need for more mooring facilities and an addition was made to “C” pier. The Li’l Black Duck was hatched in the March 1965 Burgee.
The Chesapeake Commodores Club was founded in 1966. Most of the Past Commodores of the Bush River Yacht Club, from that time forward and a few of the previous Past Commodores, are or were members of that Club. During late 1966 the Ballroom of the Club house was air conditioned.
In 1967, the Club was approved for a liquor license; and a new 20′ X 40′ room was added to the Clubhouse. (Pool room)
Opening Day 1969, the walls on the pool bulged out and leaked. They were repaired by the placement of the abutments on three sides. A regatta was held in July 1969. It was a one-day event.
In April 1972, the storage room between bath house and the now pool room was completed.
A new shower and bathroom facility was installed beside the main Ballroom of the Club in 1975.
“C” pier was completed with the addition of ten slips and a T-head in August 1979.
A sun and cocktail deck was installed from the swimming pool toward the Captains Lounge in November 1982.
In May 1983, Thermo Pane tinted glass windows were installed in the Captains Lounge and the Ballroom.
An entrance gate to control access to the Club property was installed in 1985.
The swimming pool was completely renovated in the spring of 1988. The old bath house, behind the Captains Lounge was converted into a Junior Fleet building. The old dock house was demolished in July 1988 and in its’ place the construction of an outdoor pavilion was completed in September 1988. On 10 September, the pavilion was dedicated as the William Craver Memorial Pavilion. Commodore Craver is the only Commodore to have died while in office at the Bush River Yacht Club.
A major renovation in the bar area of the Club, including the extension of the bar, was completed in April 1989.
During the spring of 1993, “A” pier was totally replaced; the old pier had been in place since 1956.
Additional dinghy rack storage space was added in 1994.
In the spring of 1996, a floating dinghy pier was constructed and installed.
The concrete deck in front of the Captains’ Lounge was replaced in the spring of 1997. “C” pier was renovated during the winters of 1997 & 1999.
Power boat races were held at the Bush River Yacht Club in 1999-2002, sponsored by the Harford County Power Boat Association. The Bush River Yacht Club Chapter of the International Order of the Blue Gavel was formed in November 2000.
The old German crane, by the boat ramp that was used to pull engines, was removed in March 2002. The sun and cocktail deck outside of the Captains Lounge was expanded in May 2002 to 1700 square feet. And outside bar was also constructed and installed.
A fence was installed along the northwest side property line in March 2003. “B” pier, which was only 6′ wide, was replaced with the standard 8′ wide pier during the spring of 2003. The Bush River Yacht Club, along with all lands within 1000′ of tidal water, was designated a “Critical Area” by the State of Maryland in 1984. The Bush River Boat Club Holding Corporation applied for and received, on 7 May, 2003, a growth allocation which changed our classification from a “Limited Development Area” to an “Intensely Developed Area”. The boat launching ramp was totally replaced in June 2003.
In September 2003, Hurricane Isabel struck the Club, the river water reached the 100 year flood plane level. The Club facilities are sound, the piers held, no boats sank, and no one was injured. A plaque has been installed at the entrance to “B” pier at the high water mark.
Two grills were installed at the William Craver Memorial pavilion in July 2004.
In May 2005, a new larger floating dinghy pier was constructed and installed. The Yacht Clubs of Maryland was formed on 25 July 2005, the Bush River Yacht Club is one of the charter members.
The Summer Regional Meeting of the International Order of the Blue Gavel was held at the Bush River Yacht Club on Friday, August 25, 2006.
In the spring of 2007, the swimming pool concrete apron was replaced, the deck was extended, and new white composite fencing was installed.
The Captains lounge in the Club house was renovated and the door to the pool room was enlarged in the spring of 2008. Also, the pilings for safety in the upper parking lot were replaced with 4×4-inch timbers and were covered with white composite sleeves.
Andy Anderson’s remarks made at the club’s 70th Anniversary celebration in 2009.
The entrance to the Clubhouse ballroom from the bar was enlarged by the addition of a second double door in 2009.
After ten years of effort, a channel from the Bush River Bridge past the Club was dredged with funds from the State of Maryland to a depth of five feet at mean low water during the winter of 2009/2010. The channel was marked with buoys by the Department of Natural Resources. The Club paid the dredge company to remove over 8000 cubic yards of material from between and outside of the piers to lower the depth of water. The Club acknowledges the effort extended by the Harford County Department of Parks and Recreation, who assisted in making this project possible.
A new facade and extended entrance room was constructed on the upper level entrance to the Clubhouse during 2009/2010. It has a lighted cupola with the Club emblem (Black Duck) on each side.
The Club received a permit to install a waste pump-out facility in June 2012. A tie-up pier, 70 feet long, was installed on the east side of the property during July 2012. A 1000 gallon-holding tank was installed under ground, but above the 100-year flood plain. The vacuum pump was installed over the holding tank and a suction line was buried below ground to the tie-up pier.
The unit became operational in August 2013.
And the beat goes on!