History can sometimes be confusing. When exactly did S.B.Y.C. become incorporated? Was it 1913 or 1914? Our present Constitution and By-Laws clearly states that it was 1913 and yet research indicates that it wasn't until a year later. What is clear, however, is that as early as 1913 a group of Stony Brook permanent and summer residents met regularly with each other and their families to pursue their boating interests and pleasures. The name Stony Brook Yacht Club was readily adopted. While there is no list of the charter members, the names Bernard F. Shea, Robert F. Wells, Jack Evans, Drs. Wylie, Carson, and Foulkes, Ellsworth Wood, Robert Smith, Gil Bayles, Fred Darling, Archie Griffin, Frank Schaefer, George Rosnen, and Frank Gumbers appear regularly in the very early history of the club. Club activities were curtailed during the First World War but it did not take long to rekindle interests once the war had ended.
By that time, the club was firmly established with the help and cooperation of the trustees of the Stony Brook Assembly. Dr. Shea, whose permanent residence was in Brooklyn where he practiced dentistry, was still Commodore and worked hard to make the club a family oriented facility. Meetings were also held at the fire house and soon plans evolved to construct a permanent building to house the club. The present site was chosen as the location for the original "clubhouse". A building committee consisting of Thomas Edgarton, John McDonald, and Joseph O'Shea was appointed on July 25,1928 under the direction of the club's second commodore, Capt. Robert F. Wells. In August of that year, the Entertainment Committee had raised $460 toward the building campaign. Leases for the land at the present site were procured on October 4, 1929. The cost of the building was funded through a $4000 bond authorized by the membership on June 20,1930 at a meeting held at the Fire House. The building itself housed it's first formal meeting on June 27,1930 and it's first party was held one week later on July 4th. It's original designer, Harold Van Nostrand, probably would not recognize the building today except for its beautiful water's edge setting.
Let's digress from our history for a moment and briefly consider the physical setting of the Stony Brook Yacht Club and the period preceding our beginnings. The club is, of course, located within Stony Brook Harbor whose coordinates are latitude 40 degrees, 53 ½ minutes, 55 ½ seconds and longitude 73 degrees, 9 minutes and 11 seconds. The wharves which presently span a considerable portion of our channel were built during the nineteenth century at three separate times during 1809, 1813, and 1835. During the nineteenth century and into the early twentieth century, a coal yard and coal pocket were located to the east of the present club and to our immediate west was a clam factory. Stony Brook was used as a local commercial harbor throughout the colonial period and into the early twentieth century. Shipping continued to prosper in this port for more than a quarter of a century after the railroad reached Stony Brook in 1873. The shipping industry brought much prosperity to our own town and many of its residents were employed as captains, crewmen, suppliers, and shipbuilders. The village supported four shipyards in 1858 and the first boat recorded as having been built on Long Island was constructed in Stony Brook in 1694. Before the twentieth century, almost every Stony Brook resident was in some way dependent on the wharf. Indeed, even today our growing club membership attests to the lure of "the wharf" as an outlet to satisfy our contemporary pleasure boating interests. The original S.B.Y.C. Constitution and By-laws written during the 1920's set a limit of the fifty club members. The initiation fee was ten dollars as were the annual dues. In 1928, dues were raised to twenty dollars a year. The first gas pump, flagpole, and floats were made available in 1930 when the original building was constructed. Next ...