History of MRYC
The Maumee River Yacht Club has a long and fascinating history, beginning in 1899 just a short distance down-river from the present site in a once well-known boathouse. Old stories indicate that the Club burgee was designed in 1906, and this corresponds with original plans to build a clubhouse that year. Unfortunately, the Club's entire assets were in The Broadway Savings Bank, which failed that year. Despite this loss, the members raised the money again, and construction of the first part of the current clubhouse began in the summer of 1910. And, as they say, the rest is history.
Unfortunately, much of that history has been lost. While researching this subject, it was learned, for example, that considerable records were stored in the lower level of the building and had survived until they were soaked with water in a flood many years ago. Rather than attempt to dry them out, they were simply thrown out.
According to the March 1929 issue of Toledo Yacht Club's Megaphone, MRYC was at that time home to more sailboats than any other club in the Toledo area, and it is known that they consequently had a considerable collection of trophies from the many races that once took place nearby. Some are in the possession of the families whose members won them, and a few remain in the possession of the Club, but according to very reliable sources, a minor altercation once took place with regards to their maintenance, with the result that a number of them were casually boxed up, taken to the other side of Horseshoe Island, and rather unceremoniously tossed into the drink, or given a Viking funeral, if you prefer.
This history is a much-abbreviated compilation of major events, and the REAL history lies in the spirit and actions of the numerous Club members over the past century. Friendships, boats, parties, camaraderie, boats, good times, silly times, bad times, (and more boats) shared among a wide spectrum of characters -- this is what history, and this Club, is all about.
During the Gay 90s there were two prominent boathouses on the west side of the upper Maumee River. One was Slavin's, and according to old references was located near the foot of Congress Street in South Toledo. Slavin's group apparently organized sometime shortly before 1900, and named themselves the Up River Yacht Club, thus differentiating themselves from the Toledo Yachting Association, now known as the Toledo Yacht Club (down-river). The URYC is listed in the Toledo City Directories of 1900, 1901, and 1902, but no address was given, and it soon disbanded. Considerable landfill has long since been placed at that site, and no trace of the club exists. The URYC and the Maumee River Yacht Club used flags of the same color, and it is presumed that most members of the URYC tossed their hat in the ring with MRYC.
The other boathouse was Stickles, whose address was then 2505 Broadway, about two-thirds of a mile down-river from our present clubhouse. On Tuesday, January 17, 1899, a group of men gathered at Stickles and formed the Maumee River Yacht Club, using a more specific identity with the river, but they were not listed in the Toledo City Directory until 1901. (Lest anyone be confused by house numbers, at a later date Stickles sold a portion of his street-front property, with the result that his address was changed to 2503 Broadway, and the sold-off parcel became 2505. At this writing, an antique shop occupies that building, erected in the 1920s, according to the owner).
From 1902 to 1906, inclusive, the MRYC address is given as 2447 Broadway but no building exists with that number. Perhaps this is the property referred to in a 1910 Toledo Blade article about the Club having earlier purchased a lot for building, but since a majority of the members objected to the location, it was sold and the money was placed in the ill-fated Broadway Savings Bank. A 1929 Toledo Yacht Club article about MRYC refers to meetings held in a hall on Broadway for a short period. This may be the room shown in a photograph owned by the Western Reserve Historical Society that shows a spacious building interior with a MRYC banner hanging in the background, but the address is not known. It is interesting to note at this point that a gentleman named Valentine Seeger, President of the Toledo Brass & Iron Works, had served as the Secretary of the Up River Yacht Club in 1902. His grandson Bruce Seeger, President of what is now known as Seeger Metals and Plastics, Inc., has in his possession two large rectangular flags, both having white letters on a red background. They are thought to be sailing award flags and both are dated 1902; one is lettered MRYC and the other URYC.
A Blade article dated December 26, 1908, gives us the only clue we have about the Club's original constitution, wherein it provides that none but actual boat owners, or bona fide members of sailing crews, could become members.
The Club was incorporated on November 23, 1905, and the following month, on December 9, the Toledo Blade published a photo captioned: Location For New Yacht Club House, stating that the building will probably cover a ground space of about 45x25 feet. It goes on to say the building, however, will not be started before next spring, as it is the purpose of the club to have the necessary money in the bank before assuming any financial responsibilities. As pointed out in the Preface, the bank to which the money had been entrusted failed, but this turned out to be just a set-back and by no means the end of the dream. The Club is not listed in the 1907 or 1908 City Directories, but a photo dated 1907 is captioned: Stickles Boat House, M. R. Y. C. Anchorage, and the 1909 City Directory gives its address as 622 Madison Avenue. They boasted of their elegant quarters that occupied the entire second floor of that building, long since demolished, but interestingly, the Directory states: Meets every Tuesday evening at Club House, Walbridge Park. It is known that a small frame building once stood just upstream from the current Clubhouse; perhaps that was their official presence on the river while they made new plans to build.
AYC article about the history of Maumee River Yacht Club CLICK HERE