The 1914 Clubhouse

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On a bitter cold morning in January 1914, fire swept over and completely destroyed the beautiful clubhouse of the Shattemuc.  Within seven months the Club had located, moved, raised, altered and finished a new and larger clubhouse that came to be known as the Little White House.  The following newspaper clippings, photographs and drawings describe the story of how that clubhouse came into being.

The Shattemuc Clubhouse Totally Destroyed by Fire.  The largest fire in the series which began last Friday evening occurred this morning just after nine o'clock when the clubhouse of the Shattemuc Yacht and Canoe Club was totally destroyed.  The cause of the fire is not definitely fixed but it is supposed to have resulted from a flaw in one the heating pipes.

 Peter Clausen, the steward, was on the second floor and smelled smoke.  He hurried down the stairs and found the smoke poring from a locker.  He burst open the door and there was an immediate flash of flame.  Without a moment delay he turned in an alarm and the firemen were on their way to the clubhouse a few minutes later. 

Pending their arrival Mr. Clausen and others managed to save five canoes housed in the building for the winter.

  The building was a frame structure and was in a most exposed position, and the result was that it burned with great rapidity.  Lines of hose were stretched from the nearby hydrants and were carried under the railroad tracks. Streams were poured onto the building from every available point in the vain hope of saving a portion of the building.

There was no gasoline in the large tank, but a can containing a small amount exploded with a loud report after the fire had been burning for about an hour and this caused a great many of the spectators to move back in anticipation of another explosions.  About 9.30 o’clock the roof of the building fell in, causing the sparks to shoot to a great height, and shortly after nothing remained of the cozy clubhouse but a heap of smoldering ruins.

 The cold was intense but the firemen did not flinch for a moment in the performance of their duty.  They feel extremely grateful to Superintendent W C Yerks of the Broadway Mission and Mrs. Daubeney Brandreth for furnishing an abundance of steaming coffee while the fire was in progress.

 Commodore Harry M Carpenter fixes the loss on the building in the neighborhood of $15,000. The amount of insurance carried is $9,000.  There was also in the lockers clothing, fishing tackle and other property of the members, also about fifteen canoes, tents, sleeping bags, etc, stored in the building upon which there was but little insurance. Besides this there were a number of silver trophies, pennants and other things the loss of which can not be estimated in dollars.

 It was announced that the clubhouse will be rebuilt just as soon as plans can be drawn. --Ossining Daily Citizen 1.14.1914

Arrangements Made to Rebuild.  The Shattemuc Yacht and Canoe Club held a meeting last night at the parlors of the Steamer Company and the very large attendance indicated that the recent fire, which destroyed the clubhouse, did not dishearten the members.

There was a general discussion of the project to rebuild and the following committee was appointed to take up the various details of the building project:  Commodore Harry M Carpenter, Charles G Washburne, J Herbert Carpenter, Lansing V Terwilliger, Joseph Royle, Rivers Genet, George Beisheim, John P Powers and Arthur J Goodwin.  The committee will meet next week and sub-divide itself into smaller committees. --1.24.1914

Yacht Club Meeting.  The monthly meeting of the Shattemuc Yacht and Canoe Club held a regular monthly meeting last night  [sic] at the parlors of the Steamer Company and there was a splendid attendance in spite of the storm.

The Committee on Plain (sic) and Scope made a preliminary report and their recommendations were approved. The committee was authorized to have plans and specifications drawn for a new building, dock and cribbing.--Ossining Daily Citizen 2.07.1914

Purchased Boathouse for Shattemuc Club.  The Shattemuc Yacht and Canoe Club has purchased from the New York Central Lines, the boathouse at Oscawana, formerly owned by Gillaume A Reusens.

 They have entered into a contract with Richard Parrott, of Newburgh to float the house to this village and it will be


raised to the dock after the latter is finished and become the permanent home of the club replacing the clubhouse burned a few months ago.

The house in its present state is a fine one and after the contemplated additions and changes are made it will be one of the finest houses along the river.  Just as soon as the ice leaves the river the house will be brought to this village and the contract calls for the completion of the work in eight weeks so that the club will be into its new quarters by Decoration Day. --Ossining Daily Citizen 3.18.1914

Clubhouse Work Begun. The work of rebuilding the burned home of the Shattemuc Yacht and Canoe Club has been started by Richard Parrott of Newburgh.

 A pile driver arrived yesterday and operations will be gotten under way, it being intended to extend it and also to construct a breakwater. When this is all finished the house, purchased at Oscawana, will be floated down the river and after it shall have been placed in permanent position it will be enlarged. -Ossining Daily Citizen 4.16.1914

Only a Ghost Fleet Left to Remind the Sportsman of Glories of Local Yachting.  .Richard Parrot, veteran dock builder of Peekskill, undertook the dangerous house-moving job down nearly 10 miles of tricky currents. Lashed atop two big barges that rode in tandem, the two-story 50-foot-square building began its downriver sail one morning, the barges broke loose only once.  Pivoting crazily downstream, the barges slewed into the towboat, and the understructure of the building suffered a gaping hole torn in its clapboard rear side.

 This crisis overcome, the “house on a raft” continued its spectacular marine parade, arriving safely off Ossining just before dusk.  The next day the big house was rolled off its two floats on wooded rollers, shuttled down long wooded tracks, and placed on its foundation near the foot of Shattemuc Pier.  H Lansing Quickford, Yonkers architect, redesigned the building.   -- Citizen Register 8.12.1935


Club House Place. The recently purchased club house of the Shattemuc Yacht and Canoe Club has reached its permanent  foundation on the new dock. The process of transferring it from the float was performed rapidly and without mishap.

While the work of completing the building is in progress the breakwater, which will extend out from the dock, will be constructed. --6.12.1914

Clubhouse Nears Completion.  The pile driver has completed its work about the new home of the Shattemuc Yacht and Canoe Club and the finishing of the handsome three-story clubhouse will be carried on with all possible haste.

 The clubhouse will be one of the finest of its sort on the river.  A wide balcony extends around the second story and the most valuable change over the old arrangements of things is the construction of a fine breakwater, where parties landing from small boats will be protected even in the heaviest gales. --7.30.1914

Yacht Club House Nearing Completion. The finishing touches are being placed upon the new clubhouse of the Shattemuc Yacht and Canoe Club which replaces the one destroyed by fire last winter and it is confidently expected that it will be entirely completed, with the possible exception of the exterior painted, by the first day of September.    As one crosses the railroad tracks and enters the house he sees first the registry desk and the telephone and to the left is the boiler room, which is absolutely fireproof.  Just beyond are the thirty-eight large lockers, shower, bath, toilet and lavatories and the rest of the first floor is given up to space for the storage of canoes, paddles, cushions, etc. and there is also a work bench for those who wish to make any incidental repairs to their boats. On the west is the wide veranda from which one can go to the dock and breakwater, which is 50 feet long, with an ell 25 feet long.  The latter is one of the most valuable features, which has been added to the club equipment and insures a safe landing from small boats, protected from the northwest winds.  Alongside  the dock which forms the breakwater is a smooth surface to which the larger boats can be tied. After one has ascended the broad and easy stairway to the second floor he sees to his left a most attractive ladies dressing room. Passing along the wide hallway the kitchen, complete in every detail, is reached, and adjoining it is the janitor’s bedroom.  A dumbwaiter runs from the first to the third floor and passes though the kitchen.  Just across the hallway from the kitchen is the grill room, which will be finished in early English style.

At the southwest corner of the house on the second floor is the library finished in fumed oak, with fumed oak furniture having Spanish leather upholstery.  At the northwest corner is the billiard and pool room, also finished in fumed oak and from each of these rooms is a doorway leading to the balcony which extends across the west side of the building. The furniture

throughout the building will harmonize with the respective rooms.

 The greater part of the third floor is given up to a magnificent room 28 by 32 feet, which can be used for dances, banquet and other forms of entertainments.  The walls and ceiling are covered with ash applied in herringbone tile, and the flooring is of narrow sycamore.  An open fireplace adds to the pretty effect. Just off the large room is a small serving room and there is a doorway over which is a marine view in stained glass which leads to an eight foot piazza which runs completely around the house and will make a most charming place from which to view the races or where the members and their families can spend many delightful leisure hours.  Under the roof, which is covered with asbestos shingles manufactured by the Keasbey & Matheson company, is a spacious loft.

 By means of a cribbing which has been placed between the house and the tracks the club will have a plaza 60 by 75 feet which will be used eventually for storing automobiles while the owner are on the water and also a yard where the boats can be drawn up during the winter.

The local men who were interested in the work upon the building were Michael Delfino, who had the interior finishing, I Terwilligers Son, lockers, Philip H Fleck, plumbing and heating, W H Coleman, painting, and Yost & Yost, electric wiring.

The club, which has about ninety members at the present time, will have a housewarming to mark the completion of the building and a number of entertainments are contemplated during the coming winter.

 The Building Committee which has labored most diligently in carrying out the work of providing a new clubhouse consists of Commodore Harry M Carpenter, chairman; John P Powers, Joseph Royle, Charles G Washburne, J Herbert Carpenter, Lansing V Terwilliger, A Rivers Genet and Arthur J Goodwin. --8.28.1914

 This is Shattemuc” Brochure circa 1950  

There are activities for every member of the family at Shattemuc Yacht Club. A year-round program includes dining and dancing, luncheons and bridge, teenagers parties, junior sailing instructions, club cruises, everyday businessmen’s lunch, gala regatta events, Saturday-morning cracker-barrel get-to-gathers, and a host of other pleasant events that add up to a pleasure for the whole family.

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