History

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Post Regatta Cool Down by G.G. Doutt

The lake's clear, blue water and the spectacular depth have attracted people from the time of the indians. In the early 1940's, several groups of boating enthusiasts purchesed supplies and stored their boats at the Cal Barry Boat Yard. Their cameraderie became the nucleus for formation of the Higgins Lake Boat Club (HLBC).

There was much enthusiasm among those original organizers and many went on to become club commodores later. The first officers were Cal Barry, Claire Ballard, Sheldon B. Heath and Stuart Rutledge, Directors; E.B. "Ted" Morley, Commodore; Floyd R. Arnold, Vice-Commodore; Burrows Morley, Secretary; and Dr. L.B. Wessel Treasurer.

In 1947, Dues of $2.00 per year were instituted and Floyd Byron was hired as the Waterfront Director to teach hundreds of young people proper methods of swimming, life saving and boating. About 300 persons were on the first roster and the "school" was conducted from rented cottages at three different locations on the lake. The club Burgee was initiated during this season.
On January 21, 1947, the club was incorporated as a Michigan Non-Profit Organization with Floyd Arnold, Burrows Morley, Sheldon Heath and Howard Phillips as sponsors. On August 23, 1947, the Higgins Lake Property Owners Association presented a perpetual trophy which is awarded annually to the sailboat which places first in the Labor Day Regatta.

A financing plan for charter membership was pursued and this resulted in 93 chapter members who bought certificates of indebtedness. With these funds the club purchased 190 feet of higgins lake frontage from the Hickey Estate. This land was 100 feet deep and had many majestic Norway Pines and cost $65 per front foot. (A far cry from today's property values.) At the first meeting on the site, Howard I. Clark and Herb Poehle proposed a plan to put down a concrete slab as a base for a future clubhouse. Many of parties and dances were held under the stars when this slab was waxed.

A 210 foot dock was extended into the water for boat mooring, and fleet #110 of the International Lighting Class Association was organized and based at the club, with twenty-five boats listed on the original roster.

The following year, a 40 x 70 foot building with a porch, designed by architect McGregor of Dearborn, was erected. In succeeding years a finished second story, kitchen, dining room and plumbing was add. The origainal building is now the Jack Eckerly home. The entire property is now Sunset Park Subdivision.

The Michigan Invitational Lighting Class Regatta was the feature each year with 50 to 65 sailboats entered from many lakes. The Labor Day Regatta has been a tradition for our local sailers too. Additional trophies were presented by Buzz Morley, Doc Arnold, Mrs. Cal Barry and Alec Carlin.

In 1964, members decided to sell the orginal property and acquire land on Tresure Island which had just become available. A new site, five lots on Treasure Island, with nearly 2,000 feet of lake frontage, was purchased. The first annual meeting on the vacant site was held on August 21, 1965. Plans for a new clubhouse were conceived and committees formed at this time. The clubhouse on the island was designed by noted architect Alden B. Dow, of Midlind, Michigan, with the first phase being built during 1965. The final addition was erected in 1972-1973. In the early days it was not unusual to have the officers and their ladies busy with scrub buckets and spray paint. Maintenance on the new building is at a minimum. We have a truly practical, yet esthetically beautiful clubhouse

The HLBC Lightning Invitational Regatta, known thruoghout Michigan, has now been increased to include catamarans also. Many tradititional events have been added since our move to the "Island." We have a fourth of July party with a spectacular fireworks display, Hawaian Luau, picnics, steak roasts, weekly sailboat events, the Higgins Lake Trophy races and several special events for our ladies and young people. Swimming and boating classes are held for the entire comunity. Each year ends with the annual Banquet, where trophies and awards for the year are presented.

Truly the Club has fulfilled the promise in the preamble to it's constitution, "To bring Together"