In 1920 Alfred “Alfie” Duff, an attorney, was elected Commodore, and at this period two bathhouses and a boardwalk to the lake were built. The boardwalk extended out beyond the marsh grass, so one would be able to get to solid sandy bottom. This was approximately five feet with railings on each side, and it was lighted down the middle by single bulbs approximately 20 feet apart. (The young fry quickly found that they could stand between the bulbs and do what all youngsters do! Just innocent hugging, of course! They would not really have the privacy to do more!!)
In 1921, 1922, and 1923 George Ketcham served as commodore even though he was from Toledo! It was during this period that Commodore Ketcham negotiated with the government to dredge a small lagoon for small boats (there weren’t any outboard engines, only inboards) and canoes. He also moved his sailboat, the “Shark” down to PCYC as his permanent berth.The original spar from that boat became the club’s first flagpole. The club also acquired the anchor from the Niagara, Commodore Perry’s flagship, and it remains on our grounds.
On June 3 of 1921, the decision was made to build a new clubhouse: an estimated investment of $3500! On May 24 of 1923, PCYC purchased the land that they had been leasing, to wit: …from the centerline (extended) of Madison Street to the centerline (extended) of Jefferson Street, bordered on the north by Lake Erie and on the south by the Portage River. Dwight F. Davis, Acting Secretary of War, accepted the offer of $6500, which included “a small building.” (Think what this piece of property would be worth today!)
In 1925, P.K. “Pete” Tadsen was elected Commodore. He was an insurance agent from Port Clinton. The Club hired as caretaker, Sam Jones, and his wife Katie. He was a retired fireman from Cleveland. (And another little personal vignette I would like to share with you….His wife Katie was the one referred to earlier, who would come out to the “pool area” to deliver phone messages from mothers who were calling their kids—and she DID keep us in line. As to the personal note I referred to a bit earlier, these two became very good friends of the Crawford family, and when Sam retired a second time in 1932, as he and Katie were going to move to Long Beach, California, he wanted to go down and say goodbye to his firemen buddies, so he took Rose and Ruel, and Jean along, and Jean had the opportunity to slide down the brass pole in the fire station! Quite a thrill I might add! Also, somewhere in the “wilds” of California was a boat named “Jean.” Also quite a thrill!)
1926 saw John Sorensen elected as Commodore, and during this time the lagoon was lengthened to almost its present horseshoe shape, and muck, sand, and some clay was deposited in the inside of the horseshoe, giving us the basis of our present infield. There were trees there, and they were left. The ground was still soft and wet, and knowledge-able members found many good “sponge mushroom” patches.
It was during this time that the “humpback” footbridge across the north end of the lagoon was built to allow access to the lake for bathers. The Clubhouse also underwent revisions. A “ballroom” was added on the east side of the clubhouse. Since it was not “year around,” it was screened on the east and north, with flaps which could be let down in case of inclement weather. A screened porch extended the south and west sides of the club. (And a minor point that might be added here—these were furnished with long tables and folding chairs, and “family potlucks” were held every Sunday night. They were very popular, and the children found it great fun to run and slide on the ballroom floor without the parents paying very much attention! So what has changed?)
An outside playground was fenced in between the clubhouse and the bathhouse and included a swing set, merry-go-round, and a LONG slide! (These were moved over to the pool area after the pool was built.) Another small comment here—the kids found that they could slide REALLY fast if they could beg a Cracker Jack wrapper, or similar piece of waxed paper, and wax the slide. (There was a “candy and soft drink” stand built at the north end of the porch, offering easy accessibility to waxed paper.) This “stand” of course, was the forerunner of our dispensers of pop, etc. One thing I remember as a child were frozen Milky Ways, ice cream bars, and at certain times, one of the “concessionaires,” Mrs. Zeis, would make her WONDERFUL homemade doughnuts! I can almost taste them now! In those days, too, the pop was made in Port Clinton—NOT any “national” brands.
In 1927 Dr. C.B. Finefrock was elected Commodore, followed in 1928 by Oliver True, an attorney. In 1929, Ed Sprenger was elected Commodore, and the “compartmentalized” boathouse was constructed on the west bank of the east lagoon. Also, Dave Jeremy, a club member, installed a short marine railway into the west bank of the lagoon which could accommodate a limited number of boats which were moved into the infield for winter storage. (NO, we did not have a bunch of marinas in the area. Remember, this was a depression period!) The tracks for the railway were located where the “very narrow” slip is presently located, and is quite a coveted spot as it can only hold one boat!)