Lake Michigan Yacht Club


By Paul Cullen, Club Historian




1936: June 2, club formed by 22 prospective members led by R.E. Peterson. It was named the GARY BOAT CLUB and the membership fee of $5.00 included docking privileges. It was often called the Poor Man’s Yacht Club because members did all the work. That first summer they proudly moored 1 sailboat and 23 small outboards!

1937: The club was reorganized and incorporated as a non-profit corporation with a rapidly mounting debt. The club was fortunate to be able to lease a strip of lakefront from Midwest Steel at Burns Ditch, Indiana. A clubhouse was built, followed by a gas dock, a steward’s house and moorings.

1938: The water taxi service became so inconvenient that a road and parking lot were completed. Also, at this time, the club’s galley started operations.

1939: The first club-sponsored Regatta and Open House was held. Over 5,000 people came to watch the aquatic events.

1958: Midwest Steel Corporation decided to build a steel plant on their property and the GARY BOAT CLUB was forced to move.

1960: After being dormant 2 years, the club decided to relocate to the sleepy village of New Buffalo, Michigan. Land (Parcel “A”) was purchased, with options purchased on 2 other parcels.

1961: The present clubhouse was built.

1966: Parcel “B” was purchased.

1971: Parcel “C” was acquired. Also, the club was reorganized and changed to a stockholding group.

1972: The name of the GARY BOAT CLUB was changed to LAKE MICHIGAN YACHT CLUB.




1974: A beautiful refuge harbor for small boats was built. 1975: The steel docks and concrete patios were built.

1978: A new roof put an end to the clubhouse water problems.

1985: New furniture was purchased and renovation to the clubhouse interior was completed.

1989: The slips were dredged and over 8,000 cubic yards of silt was removed. The walk-in cooler in the kitchen was renovated. Membership was changed to equity stock ownership. 1990: A honey-wagon truck was put into service for pumping out member’s boats.

1991: Approval was granted and a designated swim area was marked off on the beach side. Docks were refurbished, repainted and new carpet was installed. Cable television was introduced with service provided to the clubhouse and to each slip.

1992: A new stereo system and public address system was installed in the clubhouse. Twenty-four cabanas were built to replace the dunnage boxes and landscaping was added to the front of the cabanas. A sewer lift station was installed.

1993: A new large television was purchased for the clubhouse. Dockside landscaping was installed consisting of raised planters containing trees and low shrubs. Landscaping was also added at the cabana side of the drive. Laundry facilities were added to the clubhouse.

1994: A new drain at the entrance gate was installed to put an end to the erosion problems in that area. Replacement of chain link fence with wrought iron gate, light, keyless entry pad and landscape planters was complete.

1996: Celebrated the club’s 60th anniversary. The exterior of the clubhouse was renovated. The renovation included new windows on the harbor side and smooth stucco surface applied to the exterior.

1997: The docks were raised to compensate for the unusually high water level of the lake. It was 24 inches higher than normal. A renovation of the Women’s locker room included new showers, tile floor and other amenities.

2000: A seawall was constructed along the Gallean River channel and the inner harbor.

2004: A centralized pump-out system was installed. The honey-wagon truck was tired after 14 years of service. Sailors were elected to the offices of Commodore, Vice Commodore and Treasurer, …the glass ceiling has been broken!

2006: An opposition slate was elected for the first time.

2007: In honor of over 60 years of leadership and dedication, Cullen’s Point was dedicated in honor of Paul Cullen. Several previously deferred maintenance projects were completed including replacement of patio windows, remodeling of bar area restrooms and refinishing of flag pole. A paving brick driveway, parking area and turnaround were installed. The 1st Annual Channel Bash was attended by 375 members and guests.

2008: Clubhouse roof was re-shingled and improvements made to bar area include new paneling, flat screen TV, new bar tables/chairs  and stereo sound system.

2009:  The lakeside patio of the clubhouse was extended adding additional square footage. The bricked patio includes fire pits, gas barbeque grills and additional outdoor seating.

2011:  Cabana roofs were re-shingled.

2013:  Remodel of the bar adding floor to ceiling windows on north wall and complete renovation of bar & bar equipment.

2014:  Phase II of clubhouse remodel updating the kitchen, replacement of tables and chairs in dining room and provide additional serving/storage area in dining room for club parties.