Milwaukee Yacht Club, the oldest active Yacht Club on Lake Michigan, has provided premier access to the Great Lakes since 1871 in the Greater Milwaukee area. The Yacht Club offers boat storage, docking and launching as well as a site for dining, private parties, weddings and business meetings. A jewel on the beautiful shoreline of Lake Michigan, the Milwaukee Yacht Club has over 140 years of sailing excellence. MYC members take pride in the Club's programs, amenities, facilites and service provided year-round.
The Club provides the setting for relaxation with our Boathouse pool and spa, convenient locker rooms, full dining amenities, Tiki Bar, Yard & Dock and valuable membership services. Aside from worldwide reciprocity with Yacht Clubs of America, MYC has a unique shared reciprocity agreement with The University Club of Milwaukee.
The Milwaukee Yacht Club was founded in 1871 on a site north of the Milwaukee River. Incidentally, the channel is the source of the lake water pumped into the Milwaukee River near North Avenue. It is used to flush out the river from time to time. The ornate circa 1888 building on the other side of Lincoln Memorial Drive, occupied by Alterra Coffee House, houses the original pump that is still used for that purpose. With only a partial sea wall north of the site and east from McKinley Beach, there was little protection for boats back then, and boaters had to be a hardy lot and more self-reliant than they are now.
The first permanent clubhouse, a stately two-story wood-frame structure, was built on pilings near the channel in 1896. Twenty years later, in 1916 the United States Coast Guard built a lifeboat station on the shoreline across the channel from the Yacht Club. The Coast Guard abandoned it's station in 1971. It was not until the 1920's and 1930's that he outer breakwater protecting all of Milwaukee Bay was built under the leadership of William George Bruce, a founder of the Milwaukee Yacht Club and chairman of the Milwaukee Harbor Commission. Later additions to the breakwater in the 1960's completed the protection for the club and the boat slips in Miwaukee County's McKinley Marina. Throughout this period, the Milwaukee Yacht Club continued to thrive in the face of challenges. The first clubhouse, built in 1896, was destroyed by fire in 1943 in the depths of World War II. In 1945, a smaller clubhouse made largely of concrete was built on the North end of the Club's grounds to serve until the end of the war and wartime restrictions on building. At the end of the war, however, building costs had risen and dipute arose over who owned the land-the Milwaukee Yacht Club or Milwaukee County.
In 1994, two years after the first lease with the county expired, the county and the Club agreed to extend the lease for 25 years and to give the Club an option for another 25 years, allowing the Milwaukee Yacht Club to continue at it's present site for 50 years.
Throughout it's history, the Club also improved other facilities. In 1939 a 20-ton crane was built on the grounds, giving the Club, for many years, the only emergency heavy-duty crane between Sturgeon Bay and Chicago. The crane is used mainly now for launching and hauling members boats, stepping and removing masts, and race meaurement. The Club also installed four small hoists for launching and hauling small boats and installed and maintained it's fueling dock, boat slips and and equipment for other facilities on the grounds.
In Spring 2000 the Club underwent a two year 1.8 million remodeling project turning the old clubhouse into the Boathouse adjacent to a swimming pool outside. The main clubhouse was remodeled and expanded to make more space for offices and meeting rooms. There seems little doubt that the Milwaukee Yacht Club has opened Lake Michigan to thousands of boaters and others throughout it's first 130 years, and is ready to continue doing so for years to come.