YACHT CLUB HOUSE
Re-opened After Being Enlarged.
The formal re-opening of the Kingston yacht club house, after its enlargement and improvement, took place this afternoon, the event being marked by special events. The work of remodelling the club house from plans prepared by Architect H.P. Smith, is about complete, and the club is now in possession of a fine building, well suited for club purposes. In the reconstruction of the building the upper storey was cut at the floor level, and with the roof, was raised twelve feet and an intermediate storey built between. This storey will be used both for a reading room and dancing hall, having a floor space about one-fourth larger than the old floor, and provided with a ladies' cloak and toilet room. It has a fine hardwood floor, highly polished, giving a beautiful dancing surface. A feature of this room is a large rustic fireplace, built of feldspar, having shelves for displaying club trophies and being a very artistic piece of work, adding much to the appearance of this fine room. Dances can be held all the year around in the new room.
Spacious balconies were placed to three sides of the new storey, giving about three times as much balcony space as formerly, which will be much appreciated on dance nights. Arches are placed over the new front balcony, between the supporting posts, giving the building a handsome front elevation. As the building is located in an exposed position, extra precautions were taken to strengthen it and heavy posts, steel beams, etc., were introduced in the construction, resulting in a thoroughly staunch structure.
The increased height of the upper balcony affords a grand view over the harbour and Macdonald park, and makes a fine point of vantage for viewing the races. The building will be heated with hot air and well lighted with electricity. The lights in the dancing hall are placed along the ceiling beams.
The club wharf has been thoroughly rebuilt and replanked and is now in fine condition. The floating boat landing has been replaced by solid crib work and generally the premises have been put in first class condition.
The upper storey (or old portion of building) will be used for billiard and card rooms and the tables will be left in position the year round, as they need not be removed for dancing. The ground floor will continue to be used for boat racks, lockers, shower bath, toilet, etc., and for the new furnace room.
Now that the club has splendidly provided for the social side, it is necessary that it should look a little more after the yachting end and extend the wharf so that shelter and anchorage, which is badly needed, may be provided for a larger number of yachts and encourage the building of new boats.
Organized In 1896.
Fifty years ago, Kingston yachtsmen held the supremacy on Lake Ontario, local yachts defeating rivals at Charlotte, Oswego, Belleville, Toronto and Hamilton. There was considerable yachting here in the sixties, seventies and eighties. Of the early period, perhaps, the only survivors are James Wilson and John McKelvey. It was only ten years ago that the present Kingston yacht club was organised. A meeting of the yachtsmen was held in the Frontenac Hotel, on April 13th, 1896, and organization then took place. Frank Strange was the first commodore, holding the office two years. Ever since he has been one of the club's foremost yachtsmen and workers. In July 1896, the club-house which existed until its present remodelling, was ready for occupation.
Finding it necessary to provide larger quarters, if the club was to expand, the Cameron property, held originally for $20,000, was purchased last spring. Thus the Kingston Yacht Club owns a whole block's length of waterfront in the finest section of the city, and has ample space for tennis courts and bowling alleys, which may next year be arranged for. The outlook for the club's future is very bright, judging from the men who are at the helm.
When the club was instituted, the Kingston Yacht Club Association, limited, was also formed, for the purpose of handling the stock. The association consisted of yacht club members. The club gradually bought in the stock, until it made the last payment some months ago, and became full owner of the building. The Yacht Club Association will finance the present extension scheme, as it did the original building proposition.
The club has nearly 225 members at present, which number it is hoped to increase to 300 within another year. How the club has managed to exist on a membership fee of five dollars a year is somewhat of a mystery. In view of the increased expenditure on the club house, and the proposed addition to the social side, the fee must soon be doubled.
The fleet consists of about fifteen sailing yachts, twenty gasoline launches and dozens of skiffs and dinghies.
This year's officers are:
Commodore - E.C. Gildersleeve.
Vice-Commodore - J.M. Campbell.
Rear Commodore - W.B. Dalton, Jr.
Secretary-Treasurer - C.S. Kirkpatrick.
Two of the very prominent grey-haired members are Henry Cunningham and Capt. John Breden, without whose presence the club house would not seem right. Capt. Breden holds the record as a yarn spinner, while Mr. Cunningham is recognized as the most experienced amateur sailor that Kingston has yet produced.
Throughout the summer, the club holds weekly races and cruises. On every Dominion day, the local yachts take part in Gananoque's races. The cruising points are Clayton, Cape Vincent, Stella, Bath and Macdonald's Cove. A series of races takes place over the club course for the Bruce Carruthers' trophy.
In August, 1898 and July, 1904 the Lake Yacht Racing Association held its rendezvous here, and the visiting yachtsmen were delighted with Kingston harbor as a racing field and with the good time given them by the Kingston yachtsmen.
Something About The Yachts.
Lieut-Col. Strange's yacht Norma (now the Thelma) represented the Kingston Yacht Club in the lake racing contests during the first year of the club's existence, and was recognized as a champion. It defeated the Vedette, of the Royal Canadian Club, Toronto, in a matched race at Charlotte. The Norma formerly sailed in the thirty-foot class. Now it is registered in the twenty-five. A picture of this old champion is shown here.
The gentleman who has given an impetus to yacht racing, here, during the past seven years, is Dr. D.A. Black, who at one time recently owned no less than three cruising yachts. In 1898 he purchased the Kestrel from the Hamilton Yacht Club, that boat being the champion thirty-footer of the previous year. The following year he bought the Verona, of Hamilton, which had beaten the Kestrel here in 1898, at the L.Y.R.A. rendezvous. To Dr. Black, the Kingston Yacht Club owes a great deal for the enthusiasm he has aroused in yachting.
Two years ago the Daltons had built here a fast twenty-footer, the Chiriya, designed by Owen, of Toronto. She will have some interesting brushes these days with two Gananoque twenty-footers designed by the same man.
The only addition this year to the local sailing fleet is Henry Cunningham's sixteen-footer, the Baby Grand. Mr. Cunningham being a musical man, chooses musical names for his boats. The Harmony was the name of his former yacht.
A couple of the former keen yachtsmen have joined the gasoline aggregation. S.C. Calvin, former owner of the Cock Robin, now has a forty foot gasoline launch that can go eighteen miles an hour. W.C. Kent, who formerly held the tiller of the Geisha, is also a gasoline convert. F. Albree, one of the club's prominent members, has a fine gasoline cabin launch.
In E.C. Gildersleeve, the club has a most energetic commodore, and an enthusiastic yachtsman. He owns the sailing yacht Tespi.
J.C.C. Almon is another of the club's keen sailors. He was commodore last year.
The champion dinghy sailor of the club is Kenneth Cameron, who can show his craft's heels to any dinghy in these waters.
Visiting Yachtsmen Here.
The Gananoque and Watertown, N.Y., yachtsmen arrived last evening. Two Gananoque yachts came up, while half a dozen of the Watertown boats, which are on cruise, reached the city. The former anchored at the Yacht Club, while the latter, whose coming was not known about, passed down to the eastern end of the harbor for anchorage, but came up to the club quarters this morning. There are about twenty-five in the Watertown party. It will not be known until this evening if the visitors can remain over for the Monday morning race. The Watertown yachts are of the old-fashioned type and laden with canvas.
As To Meaning of Sunday Excursion Law.
There has been much dissatisfacion expressed over the rigid enforcement of the Sunday excursion law by the Kingston customs officers. No privileges, whatever, are extended. Excursion parties are excluded from landing here on Sunday. The complaints wouldn't be so loud were the law enforced rigidly elsewhere, but it is not. All the customs officials evidently do not interpret the law the same, or some of them are very lax in carrying it out. There is no getting over the fact that at ports down the river from Kingston to Brockville, the Sunday excursion law is not enforced. Parties on yachts are landing regularly at Gananoque. At Kingston, these parties would not be allowed to land. Somebody must be at fault. If the Kingston custom officials are right, then those at Gananoque are wrong.
In regard to the matter, the Whig's Gananoque correspondent writes as follows: "The New Island Wanderer, for the past two Sundays, has on her regular ramble taken quite a number of citizens of the factory town on that trip. There have also been steamyachts chartered by private parties, and also steamyachts owned by private individuals, with parties of friends on board, which have landed here on Sundays. The collector of customs here states that the trip of the New Island Wanderer is her regular daily trip, at the same hour, week day and Sunday alike, and that the visiting steamyachts are handled on these occasions according to conditions that are not amenable to the law, which, by order of the minister of customs, about three years ago, made regulations regarding not the landing of excursionists from elsewhere, but the starting of an excursion boat from a Canadian port. This is not allowed at Gananoque, and has not been. It is necessary to follow the spirit of the law, rather than the letter. The opinion as expressed by our officials here is that the law is being strictly adhered to."
To Issue Bonds.
According to our Montreal correspondent of Saturday night, the Richelieu & Ontario Navigation company is about to issue some of its bonds, the proceeds of the same to go to paying for its new steamers. The amounts will not be large, and they will be privately sold. A goodly proportion of the outstanding bond issue is cancelled each year, so that at no time is the amount overly large. One of the company's directorate, prominent in the management of affairs, said the other day that the new issue, which would be made from time to time, as requirements demanded, would bear interest at the old rate, five per cent, and that they expected to obtain very nearly, if not quite, par for them.
Craig's: steamer Waterlily and Alexandria up last night.
The schooner Clara Youell, at Crawford's, from Oswego, with coal; schooner Lizzie Metzner cleared from Crawford's for Oswego.
M.T. Co.: tug Glide and three barges from Montreal; steamer Fairmount and consorts Melrose and Quebec from Fort William tomorrow.
Swift's: steamer Hamilton down last night; steamers Toronto and Caspian, down and up today; steamer Rideau Queen, from Ottawa tonight.
The Trip To Ogdensburg - regular weekly trip on steamer America, Capt. Allan, purser Harry Hunter, steward Sparham.