HISTORY OF CHOPTANK RIVER YACHT CLUB


   In 1955, the town of Denton had a very active Chamber of Commerce. Among other projects, they wanted to donate a boat unloading device to utilize the town’s waterfront. A ramp or a gin pole was considered. The rivers current was thought to be too swift for a ramp. At this point an informal meeting at Will's sporting goods store, Mr. Stewart Wright proposed a small boat basin with an inside ramp. Mr. Ben Johnson Jr. president of the chamber of commerce put the proposition to the chamber. They would agree to do it if a boat club could be formed to run the boat basin and pay off the cost of construction. A boat club was immediately formed with Mac Lord as commodore.

   Members of the chamber and other interested people accepted noninterest bearing notes from the boat club to pay for construction. The club then secured a 99 year lease for $1.00 per year on the property from the town of Denton. Construction started immediately and the Choptank River Boat Club was off and running.

   The new Boat club had many of the activities that the present club has today; cruises, crab feasts, fish fries, and fun on the river. They found that they still needed more income to pay off the note so in 1958 they conducted their first Regatta, that the Denton fire company had hosted since 1955. The Regatta proved to be very successful and was held for almost 50 years. It was the oldest closed course boat race in the United States.

    BY 1959 the demand for boat slips had grown. To accommodate this demand, the CRBC, doubled the size of the basin and slip area. In so doing the previous wooden ramp was filled in and a new cement ramp was poured on the north east corner of the basin. Later that year the club acquired a building to be used as a clubhouse. Since town water was not available, a 450' well was drilled. Thus, 1959 was a year for major advances in the CRBC. In 1967 the original bulkhead built by a local builder had deteriorated, an entire new bulkhead was then built.

   In the beginning, the CRBC's members owned mostly outboard boats. It was later realized that most of the boating members had changed over to larger cabin cruisers. It therefore was decided to change the name to the Choptank River Yacht Club.

   The CRYC regattas, although successful, were unique in that it seemed to rain at least part if not all of Regatta day every year. By1968 the CRYC had become justly famous for its barbecued chicken. So in order to keep its cookers reasonably dry, the CRYC built a barbecue shed. The shed has now been moved to the new grounds.

   In 1969, the club decided to build a new large clubhouse, one in which they could have dances, banquets, etc. Plans were drawn up along with a list of materials. The cost of construction and furnishings were determined. Financing was arranged through the Commissioners of at their 4% municipal interest rate. Everything was set but, before construction was begun, the state of Maryland offered to build a park on the yacht club site. The proposed park was to include a new bulkhead along the river side and double the size of the basin. That was too good of offer for the town to turn down. There was one hitch.

    The state would not allow a private organization namely the CRYC, to occupy any part of park property. The town tried every way to get around this, to no avail. So the town asked the CRYC to relinquish their lease. In return, they agreed to deed a large piece of marsh on the other side of the boat basin to the club on which to build the new building. The club turned in their lease. Ironically, the state, later, changed their mind and built the park on the other side of the road. After all of this furor, the club continued to occupy the same property with no lease.

   In 1975 the regatta was changed from a one day affair to a two day event. Everyone seemed to enjoy this arrangement.

   After the collapse of bridge in March 1976, state decided to build a new bridge over the CRYC grounds. This meant the days of the CRYC at this location were numbered. With an eye to the future, in January 1977 the club purchased approximately 2.5 acres of waterfront property on the north side of West Denton. Later, in 1977 the club purchased an adjoining property containing two houses. The original idea was to build a new clubhouse. However in 1977 negotiations began with Sonny Buchert for the purchase of the West Denton Furniture Store, this was an old fertilizer warehouse adjoining the clubs other properties. In January of 1980, the purchase of the warehouse was completed. Construction was then started to convert the old warehouse into the new clubhouse. Since 1980, The Yacht Club has made many changes such as; a new bulkhead, boat ramp, air conditioning and a floating dock. They also have a full kitchen with several food options.

So, if you are ever up-the-creek stop in and see us Choptank River Yacht Club