In 1946, young Brad Spaulding (left) wears a sailor’s hat as he poses with his sister, Nancy, and their father, Harold Spaulding, aboard the family’s 29-foot Chris Craft at the Saginaw Bay Yacht Club (SBYC) in Essexville, Bay County. In 1945, longtime members Harold and his wife, Jeanette, had switched from sailboating to the increasingly popular cruising class sedan-type powerboats, which enabled higher speeds and were less expensive overall.
Also visible is the unique roofline of SBYC’s 1901-1959 exceptional 40-by-50 Victorian-styled clubhouse, designed by architects Pratt & Koepke. This second clubhouse, located about a half mile from the mouth of the Saginaw River, was reached from the road by walking across a 10-by-400 piling-supported boardwalk constructed over a swamp. The original 1895 one-story clubhouse, at the foot of Scheurmann Street in Essexville, also was built on pilings on the Saginaw River. In 1902, it was moved downriver on ice and attached to this 1901 building (white building pictured at far right). A replacement SBYC was built in 1960 and is now addressed 2313 Weadock Highway, Essexville.
The SBYC began in 1894 as the Bay City Boating and Fishing Club. William P. Jennison is attributed as its key organizer. The early initiation fee was $10, with annual dues of $5 (2012 value $130.65). Later known as the Bay City Yacht Club, throughout its history, SBYC club members and their families have enjoyed rich camaraderie and countless activities including regattas, national boat races, and social events. Photo courtesy of Bradley H. Spaulding.