History of Perrysburg Boat Club
1937 - 2018
 
It's embedded in our DNA... the awe we feel in the beauty and mystery of oceans, lakes, and mighty rivers… of clouds, stars, and the incomprehensible vastness of space.  At the intersections of terra firma and water or space, we are at once filled with fear, yet irresistibly drawn.  The seduction is powerful and thus mariners and aviators are born.  It was the mariners who came first and courageously led the way." (p.Hyder)
 
In the 1800's, Perrysburg, Ohio was a hub of commerce along its waterfront.  Northwest Ohio's bounty was loaded on flat boats, carried down the Maumee River and transferred to Lake Erie shipping.  The waterfront remained a hub until the early 1850s when the boats became too heavy to surmount a rock bar just east of downtown Perrysburg.  As a result, Toledo became the new point of transfer for shipping.    
 
Though commerce dwindled on Perrysburg's waterfront, boats remained a part of the fabric of this river town.  Early artwork and photography of the river at Perrysburg document the presence of pleasure sailboats that dotted the river by 1846.   It appears that as far back as 1875, a club for boating enthusiasts existed in Perrysburg* when several men bought a ten-oared racing barge and called themselves the Neried Boat Club.  (*B. Visser, local history researcher)
 
In 1937, the Perrysburg Boat Club was launched by three residents and began operation with 22 charter members.  From the Village of Perrysburg, they leased the former pumping station at the foot of Louisiana Avenue.  The lease was set at $1 per year plus the cost of the property taxes.  The terms of the leases varied over the years; in 1951, the renewed lease was for 30 years.  From the beginning PBC was responsible for land and building maintenance. 
 
PBC's first yearly membership dues were set at $1 for juniors, $2 for social members, $5 for canoes/rowboats, and $7 for power and sail boats (including wet dock fees).  This junior membership category established PBC as a "family-oriented boat club" and it has remained so to this day.   The club was and remains a "working" club in that it is a cooperative effort by all members to assume the responsibilities of maintaining boat docks, clubhouse, and grounds.
    
In 1941, PBC was incorporated under Ohio laws.  During World War II, not many improvements were made to the clubhouse as materials, labor, and money were scarce.  After the war ended, PBC members sold bonds to enable them to make improvements to the clubhouse, bulkhead, and docks.  
     
In the late 1950's, PBC membership declined.  However, the early sixties saw their membership roster rise again with the addition of a group of sailors who raced the Rebel sailboat (designed by Toledo boat builder, Ray Green).  The interest in sailing competition inspired a surge thereafter with many more sailboats of all makes lining the PBC docks.  More members began attending area regattas and PBC began hosting a yearly regatta. By 1970, there were two members who docked powerboats, and the rest of dockage space was filled with sailboats.   
 
More improvements were made to the building during the 1970's and beyond.  Over the years an enclosed porch,   an updated kitchen, a second restroom, and a furnace were added.  The bulkhead was paved with concrete and a deck was added.  The number of docks was expanded to serve a growing membership. 
 
Beginning in 1976 and continuing over the years, PBC began purchasing parcels of land near the boat club building.  The wisdom of buying these parcels became prescient in the fall of 2015 when PBC was informed by the City of Perrysburg that our clubhouse had been condemned and was to be demolished.  Shocked and saddened members had only days to remove the contents of the building.  Thus, in 2016, PBC began operating with a tent on their deck and a porta potty on the bulkhead. 
 
 
2016/2017 became PBC's "planning for a new building" years.  It was also the years in which hopes were repeatedly raised only to be dashed on the shoals of Planning and Zoning.  But, like all intrepid mariners, club members persevered.  Members became even closer in their sorrow and determination to see a new clubhouse rise from the ashes.  All became heartened by the outpouring of support from so many Perrysburg residents and City Council members.
 
Other boat clubs along the Maumee River and in the Associated Yacht Clubs were also incredibly supportive, both in sentiment and in offering the use of their facilities.  This kindred spirit is common among mariners and will not be forgotten by PBC.   Most amazing of all was that, even with only a tent and porta potty to offer, our 2017 membership rose to an all-time high of 103.   By January 2018, we are moving ahead with plans for construction and hope to be in our new home by the end of the year.
 
 In 2018, PBC is celebrating its 82 birthday.  It has been led by 73 intrepid Commodores.  It 1987, PBC was one of the first area boat clubs to be led by a female Commodore, and 3 more female Commodores have led since then.  Nineteen Past Commodores are still PBC members as of January, 2018 including Past Commodore Dan Rowand who was at the PBC helm 63 years ago and remains active today.