The place, Black Rock, a historic seaside area of Bridgeport, Connecticut. The time, June 1919. World War I had ended only seven months before. A group of sea loving buddies had been meeting next to the rock pile at the foot of Seabright Avenue when they decided it was high time to found a yacht club.
After much deliberation, they decided to name the club in honor of Captain Fayerweather, a seafarer, who had been one of the early settlers of Black Rock. The charter members, Dick Terbeck, O. Bloomer, R. True, Paul Lang, John W. Bast and William J. Newton held their meetings by candlelight. When the candle burned down the meeting was over.
An old shed near the rock pile served as the first club house. The rent, $15.00 a month, soon became a burden for so few members. It was decided to reopen the charter and solicit new members at the charter rate to help with finances.
By 1936 the Fayerweather Yacht Club was prospering in a modest way. There were lockers in the shed and a meeting room upstairs. There was a float for tying up skiffs and a sandy beach where an old marine railway still led down to the water. The railway was a handy place for hauling boats. An old apple tree stood nearby affording welcome shade to the men who often gathered under its branches to talk about boats, fishing and events of the day. The old apple tree also served as a “Dead Man” to which tackle could be fastened for hauling boats up the marine railway on a bed of planks and rollers.
In 1936, a crisis occurred. The owners of the club house raised the rent. At that point, the members tried to negotiate a purchase of the site but funds were lacking and the club wasn’t organized enough to undertake a major fund drive. Eventually the property was sold and the club was forced to find another location.
A nearby property was located and purchased for $4500.00. Farseeing members created the Fayerweather Holding Corporation which controlled and sold the stock that made the purchase possible. The property and building thus acquired fronted directly on the harbor at the end of Brewster Street. The building, a Customs House in colonial times, had been converted into a charming private home but was now in disrepair. No plumbing or heat, only a central fireplace to ward off the cold. In addition, there were many small rooms. Extensive remodeling was needed in order to make it a suitable clubhouse.
The improvements were made with money from fund raisers. By April 1938 an enclosed porch had been added to the south side and a locker room to the north. These changes occurred while Herbert Duncan served as Commodore from 1936 to 1943.