History of The Lake George Club
The Lake George Club was formally organized and received its certificate of incorporation on November 16, 1908. Nine months later a clubhouse had been built and docks, tennis courts and a nine hole golf course were in place.
The Club opened its doors on August 14th, 1909 with its first and only Superintendent, Mr. Emil Strand and his bride, to welcome the members. Mr. Strand served the members for fifty-four years until he retired in 1963. Each spring he grew the white petunias which graced the Clubhouse. We keep this tradition as a tribute to his long and dedicated service.
The purpose of the Club as outlined in a meeting in 1908 was to provide a place where residents and visitors might meet and have the opportunities for mutual pleasure, to hold regattas and other aquatic sports, to provide a golf course, tennis courts and facilities for other games and make arrangements for dramatic and musical entertainment.
These things were all done, but changes have taken place over the years. The original regattas were motor boat races. Ever faster and more sophisticated boats were built and raced, leading at last to George Reis' El Lagarto which won the Gold Cup in 1933 and defended the Cup in 1934 and 1935 at the Lake George Club. That was the last Club sponsored motorboat regatta.
Golf was played on a nine-hole course laid out on Club property and property to the north leased from the Marion House. The course ran parallel to and on both sides of the Bolton Road. The Marion House was torn down in 1939 and the land subdivided, but the golf course continued in operation through 1942 when the lease expired.
The original three clay tennis courts served the members for 75 years. For thirty-three of those years, 1916-1949, the Tennis Chair was Miss Helen Simpson, a devoted member who was also a director for twenty-eight years and Vice President for five years. In 1983-84, after ten years of discussion, three new courts were added and the old courts resurfaced. We continue to have some of the finest courts in the area.
Sailing was introduced in 1935 with boats from all over the lake invited to join the eight Club boats; Dr E.F.W. Alexandersons Nordic, Mr. W.M. Bowdens Highland Fling, three Stars and three Cape Cod Knockabouts. The Stars began racing as a separate class in 1936 followed by the Cape Cods in 1937 and the Sound Interclubs in the late thirties. Mr. Harold Pitcairn, who was Commodore from 1940 to 1953, provided his own fleet of two boats in each class sailed by himself and his eight children. Sailboat racing was suspended from 1943 through 1945. New classes were introduced after the war: the Rainbows in 1963, the J-24's in 1980 and the J-22's in 1991. The sailing story would not be complete without the mention of Ralph and Mary Derby, Boom Boom and Can Can, who were in charge of the starting guns and signal flags on the race committee boat for over 25 years.
During World War II, the membership dropped from 125 to 64. The Club was closed for the 1943 season. A small group headed by C. Everett Bacon, president from 1933-1945, and Hubert Brown, 1946-1947, rallied support and contributions to keep things going. In 1955, the emphasis shifted from the older generation to the baby-boomers.
Tennis, sailing and swimming instructors were hired in 1955 and junior tennis and sailing programs were started. The juniors competed in Turnabouts, Cape Cods and Lasers for the next 25 years. Contributions from the members have permitted the Club to fund three newer fleets: the 420's in 1979, the Optimist Dinghies in 1990, and the FJ's in 1994. The children of the baby-boomers are now active participants in our junior programs.
The club presently has 300 regular members and a waiting list of prospective members. The House Committee and staff have revitalized our Social program. Sailing and tennis are actively pursued on all levels. We are all looking forward to the future years of Club-related mutual pleasure.