Serving the Mariners of Buzzards Bay Since Since 1908.
It’s been over a hundred years since a group of local businessmen and early film, vaudeville, and stage actors gathered together to organize and finance the founding of the point independence yacht club in the coastal village of Onset, Massachusetts as summer visitors sped the growth and development of the then tiny Onset Village.
The yacht club was formed to service and satisfy the growing social demands and the first club house was dedicated in 1909. It all began when the founding group was organized and the necessary funds raised in part by prominant point independence businessmen and summer residents Jerry Grady, and his wife Miss Frankie Carpenter, who were among a group of well-known theater people of the day.
The Point Independence Yacht Club building effort was led by Thomas DiBarry, Irving C. Hammond, William G. Rowe, Stewart B. McCleod, John R. Herd, Frank S. Murphy, Jere Grady, William F. Brady and Charles A. Marstou. The primary purpose of the club was to establish a meeting place for sailing, boating, and various other social activities.
The original officers of the club were: T.D. Barry, Commodore, and principal proponent of the original plan to form the Club: Judge Stuart McLeod, Vice Commodore, who was responsible for all construction and legal work relating to the organization of the Club; Edward Andrews, Secretary; and I.C. Hammond, Treasurer.
The first meeting of the club was held in the dining room of the Pine Tree Inn, a neighboring hotel which was in operation until it was destroyed by fire in 1964.
The funds necessary to organize the Club were raised within one week when a bond issue of $10,000 was subscribed by Jerry Grady a famous stage actor who along with his equally famous wife, Miss Frankie Carpenter, maintained a summer home in Point Independence. The original Club House was dedicated on July 3, 1909.
The Women’s Auxiliary, now called the First mates, was formed and staged many events to make the mortgage payments of the Club. Whist parties were held every Wednesday afternoon and the Club House was filled each time to capacity. Special attention was given to the support of the building because of the number of people that attended the baked bean suppers organized by the women in the early days of the Club.
As the popularity of boating increased, many boats were moored right in front of the Club. The Bay had great depth and was deep enough for the “New Bedford Steamer” to make regular runs to the Onset Town Dock.
The first Club dock was constructed in front of the Club which could be disassembled and stored on shore during the winter months. The task of erecting the dock each spring was under the direction of Lorenzo “Babe” Hackett, who was the Club Steward for over thirty years. A permanent dock was subsequently built.
The docks were completely destroyed during the great 1938 hurricane and the club house was turned on its fundation to face independence avenue. The united states coast guard auxiliary – flotilla # 603 – was the first flotilla formed within the first coast guard district. It was founded at the club in and became known as the “1st of the 1st”.
Due to a series of financial problems, the Club was reincorporated in 1938 and a new series of bonds were issued to members in exchange for stock held by members. Bonds, once again became evidence of ownership interest in the Club.
In 1944, a second hurricane hit the Club causing extensive damage. The Club House again was moved off its foundation and heavy damage occurred to the fleet and dock. Bonds were sold to raise money to rebuild the Club facilities.
Club activities flourished in the 1950’s and our 4th of July celebrations were second to none. During hurricane “Carol” of 1954 the Club House held its own except for the foundation which was badly undermined. The wooden front porch, which is now concrete construction, was swept away and water damage extensive. Three boats out of approximately sixty in Onset Bay rode out the storm. The dock was again destroyed, this time by the pounding of the boats tied to it. The rebuilding task was started once more. A new dock with more slips and floats was built. The area around the dock was dredged and a bulkhead installed.
In 1957, by refinancing the Club property, vacant land running to Onset Avenue was purchased.
During the summer of 1968, a boat named “Tina” ignited at the gas dock totally destroying the dock house. A new dock house with a roof similar to homes on the Islands was constructed.
During 1972 and 1973, the upper deck of the Club was completely renovated with the labor of Club members.
Grandma’s stove and refrigerator were given away to an antique dealer and a modern kitchen was installed during the years 1974 and 1975.
In February 1976, as a result of an unusual northeast storm, the pier leading from the Club House to the dock house was destroyed and restored before the club opening in May, 1976.
1977 was the year that the lower deck of the Club House was renovated once again using the unselfish labor of Club members.
At a bondholder’s meeting in 1978, it was voted to dredge and expand the Club facilities by installing a new gas dock, new slips, at the permanent outer dock, bulkhead, dinghy dock, and new shower at the rear of the Club House. This expansion program required the Club to obtain a mortgage of $125,000 and has proved to be a successful capital investment.
The Club expansion program approved by the members in 1978 which became known as “Expansion 78” was completed in 1981.
Through continued efforts from Club members year after year, the Club has seen many improvements and upgrades.