Racine Yacht Club (1972)
1 Barker Street
Racine’s maritime history stretches back to the 1840s when the city was the fifth largest shipping port on the Great Lakes. Through the 1880s, when shipyards here built cargo schooners for the lake trade, a vibrant recreational boat-building industry spanned fifty years at the start of the twentieth century.

According to an article in the September 8, 1894 Racine Daily Journal, the Racine Yacht Club, or at least a very early version of it, came into being in 1891. Prior to that time “...very little interest had been taken in aquatic sports.” 

On January 23, 1916 the meeting of the Racine Motor Boat and Yacht Club was called to order in which a motion was made and carried to elect permanent officers and to change the name to the Racine Yacht Club.  The first clubhouse was located halfway up the hill by Barker Street. This small building was leased to Racine Yacht Club by the Glass family.

In 1922 the Edgewater Transit Company, formed by the Racine Yacht Club to offset expenses of running the club, constructed the Edgewater Beach and Bath House. It opened in June and was free and clear of debt on the first of August that same summer. This good fortune was short‐lived and somewhere around 1924 it was torn down and the land sold to the city for the new Water Department building.  The land was then leased back from the Water Department for $1 and the original clubhouse was moved.

In October of 1929 the Racine Yacht Club experienced a very severe storm which practically demolished the clubhouse. It was damaged so severely that hopes of rebuilding it were almost nil.  In 1933 Otto Wadewitz became Commodore and through his efforts and leadership the Club was rebuilt and placed on a foundation with a basement under the structure.   Throughout the years the Club and its facilities were constantly being improved, including the dedication of the Otto Wadewitz dock in 1955 and the Rooney‐Knop breakwater and east pier in 1966.

In 1971 a motion was passed to build a new clubhouse.  On October 31, 1972, after 56 years of faithful service, the old clubhouse was razed. This ended the era of the old Club and began the era of the new Club.  On December 10, 1972 the Racine Yacht Club opened the current club house with great fanfare at the official dedication ceremony.

Preservation Racine congratulates the Racine Yacht Club on its 100th year anniversary. We thank the members for opening their facility to us today and for serving as our after-tour celebration site.