The Allen Harbor Yacht Club was founded in 1953. Early meetings of the organizing group took place in “the lodge”, the home of Dr. and Mrs. Wallace Hamilton, and in a garage at the Allen Harbor Marina which Rupe Nichols surfaced with asphalt to avoid setting up tables on a dirt floor. It was clear to those early members that they should register as a yacht club, raise capital and purchase land. In that first year the club had sixty family members.
The club’s first commodore, John Trefry, set the following goals for AHYC and its members:
FIRST: To become proficient in seamanship, boat handling, water safety, navigation and aquatic recreational activity in order to promote and provide opportunities to develop the arts of boat handling, piloting, boat maintenance, water safety and allied aquatic activities.
SECOND: To develop and maintain an interest in boating, with particular emphasis on encouraging the participation and marine education of the younger generation.
THIRD: To promote and provide opportunities for social activities for all members.
The club incorporated in 1961 and a year later the Board purchased 2.5 acres on Allen Harbor. From 1963-1967 the land was cleared, electricity and water installed, slips built and expanded, and money raised for the construction of a club house. On January 3, 1967 a ground breaking ceremony was held, and on July 4, 1967 Commodore Michael DiPierro dedicated the clubhouse. At that time the membership totaled 145 families.
A few years later, after the installation of a heating system, the club was in operation year-round with an expanding social calendar. By the early 1990’s membership had reached 250 families. In 1991 the docks were destroyed by Hurricane Bob, but rebuilt by the following summer. Anne Johnson became the club’s first female commodore in 1994. In May 1999 a major renovation of the upstairs dining area was completed. Ten years later the downstairs lounge and the game room were also renovated. The Sunset Grille, serving lighter fare on Friday evenings from June to September, opened in 2000. Membership reached 300 families in early 2012.
The Allen Harbor Yacht Club has grown in strength and scope since its founding. The source of the club’s strength always has been and always will be its members. The club members are the backbone, the givers, the supporters who have always responded when the need arises. We continue to be blessed with members who possess enormous talents and who give generously of their time and their abilities.
We stand here on the deck of the clubhouse on a summer morning. The water is calm and the air pungent with the smell of the new mown grass. One feels the presence of so many who have come before: the early Native Americans who built their fishing weirs outside the harbor, the patriot John Allen who farmed and soldiered during our War for Independence, our founders and their families who attended functions and celebrations – indeed, the voices of all our past members can be heard. Our Club has a great legacy and it is incumbent upon all members to share and preserve it. On this, our fiftieth anniversary, let us pledge to build on what we have been given.
The Fiftieth Anniversary Committee