A brief, historic glimpse of one of the oldest yacht clubs in America, presided over by 77 Commodores through the years.
In the uppermost portion of Narragansett Bay is the location for the Edgewood Yacht Club. The club was first organized in 1885 by a group of families who erected bath houses on the waterfront and called it the Edgewood Boat Club. The name of the club was later changed to Edgewood Yacht Club when an official club house was built in 1889. After a fire destroyed the original structure, the club was then rebuilt in 1908 as a large and magnificent shingle-sytle building sitting on 132 pilings over the water with a 2nd floor ballroom, water facing porches and a long dock that took members out to their slips. Over its lifetime, the club had withstood a number of hurricanes, in 1938 and the most serious in 1954. The '54 hurricane was most severe, causing substantial damage to pliings, docks, marina slips and flooding the entire first floor of the club. A plaque on the wall of the Darby Room (the members meeting space) hung for many years, marking the height of the waterline reached during this damaging event.
In January of 2011, the club was dealt a serious blow when a fire started in the uppermost portion of the structure during a driving snow storm with high winds. Despite the valiant efforts of fire crews from several cities in the surrounding area, the main clubhouse was not saved. However, the docks and slips remain and are in use today and plans are underway to raise the funds needed to develop a new plan for the design of a clubhouse. The EYC membership has clearly sustained significant disasters in the past years and in true fashion will continue to strive forward keeping the spirit of the club and seamanship alive in the Edgewood area.
Many activities mark the start and end of the season for the club. Opening Day in the spring, followed by numerous social events and activities throughout the summer to keep members connected. Our Race Committee has active participation with races taking place two nights a week and social dinners to follow. There is an annual Club Cruise, re-instated in 1979, offering an opportunity for boaters of all kinds to cruise together for a week, exploring Narragansett Bay or surrounding areas in Massachusetts or Conneticut.
Edgewood Yacht Club has a spirit of seamanship and camaraderie that transcends the years and the various changes it has experienced. Through our membership we continue to transform and contribute to the tradition and history of the Club. We look forward to the coming decades.
"There is nothing, absolutely nothing, half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats" -- Kenneth Grahame
Long may it be so !
Excerpts from the writings of Frederick J. Darby