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Our E-News Readers are Uncovering History

April 9, 2012

In the March CWB E-newsletter, we published the photo below with the following description:

This photo was forwarded to CWB Sailing Instructor, Oliver Davis, by his father Norman Davis, who is the head of the Englewood Historical Society in New Jersey. It purports to depict the Englewood Yacht Club on the banks of the Hudson River, at the foot of the Palisades. Locals of the area do not recall that there ever was such a high-falutin’ sounding club.

Based on evidence in the photo, can you guess when this photo was taken? Ever heard of this club? Send us your best date, description, or explanation for the chance to win a two-hour One-on-One sailing lesson for the price of one hour with Oliver Davis!

Two readers submitted their best answers. Mike Bird (CWB Sailing Instructor Extraordinaire) submitted the following answer:

“Hmmm, you didn’t show us the reverse with the postmark.

Several such postcards are for sale on E-Bay and elsewhere.  Here’s one which shows the reverse with a postmark and other information.

The postmark is Englewood NJ so it’s not some kind of confusion with a different Englewood Yacht Club.

The card was manufactured by the Tomlin Art Company of Northport, Long Island, which was in business from 1943 through the 60’s:

Tomlin would most likely have taken the photograph itself rather than using a stock photograph, so as to avoid copyright problems and licensing costs.

Since Tomlin came into being in 1943, and there exists at least one such postcard postmarked August 11th 1943, and since the boats are not hauled out and tenders are in the water, and since manufacturing the card would have taken some time with war priorities, I would guess that the photo was taken in June of 1943.

Robert Kedenberg submitted the following entry:

“My grandfather, Fred Kedenburg, was Commodore of the Rockaway Point, NY, Yacht Club in 1937.  My Dad, Bob, who is now 91, remembers this about the Englewood Yacht Club.

I just spoke to him about it, having sent him the photos.

His tale is as follows.

In 1939, Dad’s older brother, my Uncle Fred, asked Dad to accompany him and Fred’s young wife to the Englewood Boat Basin for a weekend cruise from Rockaway Point.  Dad was 19 at the time.  Fred had gotten married to my Aunt Charlotte in Nov of ’38.  Dad declined to go with them.  But, he tells me, Fred always talked fondly about that trip.  My cousin Chari was born in 1940.  (Figure that out.)  Maybe that’s why Dad declined.

Grandpa owned a 34 foot Elco, the Tilly.  Fred was usually the go to Cox’n around Rockaway.  Dad, being younger, frequently took the boat out, and  usually crewed or took friends to the Tuesday Night Coney Island Fireworks shows.  Grandpa always let the kids run the boat.  They frequently went across the NY Bight to the motor boat races in NJ.

Dad said that Fred always referred to the “Englewood Boat Basin”, never the Englewood Yacht Club.  Since the Tilly was part of Rockaway’s yacht club, I’m sure that if Fred had tied up there, at Englewood, he would have mentioned it.  So, Dad remembers his brother always talking about the Englewood Boat Basin.  Whether there was a yacht club there, he doesn’t recall.  From the photo, Dad said that the entire basin is too big to be an entire yacht club.

Dad dates the photo to 1939-40.  Dad has a perfect memory for events in the 30s and 40S, especially boats built in NY and Brooklyn.   He joined the USCG in 1940, and was assigned to anti submarine duties aboard a converted pleasure yacht, the ELAREEB, based in New London.  ELAREEB was a 40ish foot wooden boat, and the govt took it over as necessary to the war effort.  The owner was a brewer, and if you spell the name backwards, you get Beer and Ale.  He was a BM2, and took the boat for patrols in eastern LI Sound until 1943, when he was transferred to Trinidad, aboard a 83 foot cutter.  In 1941, right after Pearl Harbor, his antisubmarine weaponry was a 1903 Springfield, a 12 guage shotgun, and a case of dynamite to throw at U-Boats.  (Honest)

I’m in Longview, Wa.  I too am a USCG vet.  I was transferred to Seattle in 1977 aboard the Cutter Boutwell.  I am a woodshop teacher in Kelso.  I built and have since sold a 15 foot Cheaspeake Crab Skiff, a Karl Stambaugh design.  I currently sail a 1974 Catalina 27 (sorry-it’s glass), the Cigognes, moored at Swantown in Olympia.

I hope this clears up some of the mystery.

Dad will be here in the summer.  He is currently living in upstate NY.  I visit him every summer, where we fish Long Island Sound aboard the party boat Capt Bob, an older wooden hulled day trip fishing boat, based in Mattituck, NY.”

As you can see, we had a hard time picking the winner! We’ve decided to declare both entries winners, and we’ll have to come up with a more appealing prize for Mike Bird, since he is one of our most reliable sailing instructors, and has no use for discounted sailing lessons. Regardless, we’re pretty sure the prize wasn’t what motivated him to submit an entry…

Thanks, guys, for your submissions! Stay tuned for future contests and other fun ways to get involved in uncovering maritime mysteries! Not an E-news subscriber? Sign up here.

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