The History Project
The Northern Lake George Yacht Club grew from several roots, the oldest of which was the Lake George Yacht Club, organized in 1888, and the center of yachting activity on Lake George until 1906. The interest and property of this Club were left in the hands of its last Commodore, Mr. John R. Simpson. In 1941 his daughter, Miss Helen Simpson formally transferred to the Northern Lake George Yacht Club the burgee of the old Lake George Yacht Club, a blue field with a central white stripe in the middle of which is a red star. The name of the Lake George Yacht Club was also to be inherited, but because of the likelihood of confusion with the Lake George Club, the word “Northern” was added.
Additional roots were put down in 1926 when competitive sailing was attempted at the northern end of the lake with the purchase of four Red Wings, but because of the intense interest in motorboat racing at that time the attempt failed.
In 1931 sailing was introduced at Glenburnie and at Rogers Rock. The Rogers Rock Yacht Club, organized in 1932, conducted regular week end races until 1939 when it was found impractical to continue.
With the termination of the activities at Rogers Rock it became apparent that no single community could maintain a continuous program of racing. This, together with the fact that The Star Class had found it necessary to use Hague Bay in order to lay out satisfactory courses, brought to a head the growing idea that the communities at the northern end of the lake should join to create one yacht club. In 1940, accordingly, representatives from Rogers Rock, Glenburnie, Hewletts and the Adirondack Camp met, merged the existing yacht clubs and formed the Northern Lake George Yacht Club.
The incorporators of the Northern Lake George Yacht Club (March 16, 1941) were:
- Clinton Hernandez — Heart Bay
- Joseph Cronin — Adirondack Camp
- Frederick Bruno, Sloan Wilson — Rogers Rock
- Rt. Rev. Monsignor Robert F. Keegan, Ralph C. Craig — Friend’s Point
- Harold M. Davison, Richard Manning — Glenburnie
- Charles Henderson, Jr., James A. Corscaden, M.D. — Hague
The location of the Club was the subject of much study and discussion. Properties in Heart Bay, Glenburnie and Hague were considered. It was finally decided to accept from the Cook Estate the property on which the club now stands, which had been offered through the intercession of Ralph Craig.
For seven years the activities of the Club were conducted from the property of Monsignor Keegan on Friends Point. He not only offered his property for use, but officiated at most of the races himself.
After the war, with an increase of membership and activity, and because of Monsignor’s failing health, it became clear that the club must have its own quarters. The sum of $14,000 was raised by subscription.
In 1948, the Club House was built with these funds donated by the members. Later additions, the kitchen, the fireplace, shed and, in 1961, the new dock and hoist with the waterfront improvement were built by the same method. It should be added that hundreds of man-hours of labor were also contributed. Tennis courts, built on land leased from the Friend’s Point Association, were added to club facilities in 1968 and the Junior Staff house was built in 1971.
In 1990-1991, under the direction of Jim Beaty and Jim Cullen, a major 50th anniversary clubhouse renovation was undertaken for improvements to the kitchen, rest rooms and storage facilities. Self financing was completed with the project. The fund raising was very ably handled by Janet Lawrence. Over three years, 1997-2000, nearly all families of the club participated in “Stewardship 2000” — a stem-to-stern renovation and restoration of all club buildings, waterfront and tennis courts.
Our club is fortunate to have title to one of the oldest burgee designs in the country. The burgee of blue field with red star on white stripes was designed for the Lake George Yacht Club in 1888. This organization disbanded in 1906. But in 1941, Miss Helen Simpson transferred the flag to the fledgling Northern Lake George Yacht Club where it is flown proudly to this day.
Flag etiquette suggests that the burgee be flown on the bow staff and the United States Yacht Ensign on the stern staff of powered yachts between dawn and dusk.
The activities of the Club have centered principally about sailboat racing. At first, a heterogeneous fleet of boats produced mostly headaches and gray hairs for the members of the handicapping committee. In 1932, a fleet of Akroid 14-foot dinghies was purchased. These soon gave way to the Comets in which fleet No. 109 of the International Comet Class was organized in 1934. In that same year, the Lake George Fleet of the International Star Class Yacht Racing Association was formed. A Turnabout Fleet was organized in 1952; Thistles in 1965; Flying Juniors in 1971, Lasers in 1978, and Optimists in 2002.
Regular weekend races have been maintained. A volunteer day “breakfast” with the Laser Regatta winds up the social and sailing season along with “closing” the club for winter. The tennis season is closed with the annual club tournaments.
Outside competition in the Star Class has yielded several championships in the Twelfth District. Comet territorials have produced many championships and even an international champion. The Thistle Fleet actively participates in area regattas and holds a regular “home and home” with a neighboring fleet.
Interclub regattoa for the juniors are held regularly with the Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club, the Lake George Club, the Cooperstown Country Club, the Mallett’s Bay Boating Club, the Lake Sunapee Yacht Club, and the Lake Champlain Yacht Club.
The other principal activity of the club has been to sponsor a “youth program” in which hundreds of juniors, ages 3 to 16 have been given instructions in sailing, swimming, life saving, tennis and other skills by which they might enjoy the lake. In addition, there is a social program of dances, hikes, excursions and overnight sailing.
Since the early 1930s a number of perpetual trophies have been presented to the Northern Lake George Yacht Club. Each year these trophies are awarded to the Champion of each fleet as well as to those individuals who have attained special levels of accomplishments during the season.
|1940||A. F. Wilson|
|1940-1951||James A. Corscaden|
|1953-1959||Harry E. P. Meislahn|
|1959-1962||John Van Winkle|
|1962-1969||J. Stanford Smith|
|1969-1972||Ralph W. Earl|
|1976-1979||Henry M. Rowan|
|1979-1982||Albert W. Lawrence|
|1982-1984||Robert A. Marshall|
|1984-1987||Robert D. Wotton|
|1987-1990||Arthur C. Hatfield|
|1990-1993||Delmar R. Dhein|
|1993-1996||James M. Beaty|
|1996-1998||James T. Cullen|
|1998-2001||Arthur C. Hatfield|
|2004-2007||Lauren Singer Waite|
History Questionnaire (.pdf)
The Heritage Committee has begun a two-year project to assemble our club’s rich history. Spearheaded by member and noted historical author, Mary Schaller, the NLGYC History will be all-inclusive: sailing logs, a tennis history, junior program class books, a narrative history, awards & traditions. A separate “Pleasures of Past Times” book will be created by all members, with families assigned to submit pages. The Committee envisions a home for the comprehensive Club History in our clubhouse bookshelves.
The Committee needs every member’s help:
- Fill out a Club History Questionnaire
- Copies of photos, event programs, memorabilia will be sought
- Small donations to cover program costs may be sent to “NLGYC History Fund” at the club address
Contact Jack DeGraff for more information or to submit items of interest.