The Mattabesett Canoe Club was organized January 7, 1896 by a group of canoe enthusiasts and what became of that is now The Middlesex Yacht Club. The first location was on land owned by the Davis family at the foot of College Street on the Connecticut River in Middletown. A clubhouse was built there at a cost of $400 and rented on a three-year lease of $80 per year. The initiation fee was $5, active dies $8 and associate dues $5. Only active members could hold office.
In February of 1905, the club’s name was changed to “The Middletown Yacht Club.” A year later the club purchased the club house with a sizable piece of land. The Rudder Magazine sponsored the first long distance race to Huntington, LI starting at our club on September 16, 1911. We were fast outgrowing our club facilities and after much planning, we commissioned a new clubhouse now known as The Harbor Park Restaurant on May 30, 1916.
M.Y.C held the largest boat race in the East on June 30, 1923 attracting participants from all over including many boat enthusiasts. Outboard races began at M.Y.C. on August 28, 1928 and various outboard associations held their races at our club for a number of years. In may of 1945, T.M. Russell Jr. found a piece of property in Maromas for our third clubhouse. We built a smaller clubhouse here. It was nearer to the sound, more private, and the flooding did not bother us as much. The winds in the area were ideal for small sailboats and several classes were raced.
In 1947, dues were raised to $25 active, $15 associate. The club was planning boat slips in 1954 when we were notified that our property was taken over by the government for a new atomic laboratory. By 1957 we made a settlement with the government in which they bought the property for $32,125 and we bought back the building at the salvage value of $400. We then floated the material we needed down the river to our new location and used it in our present club which we bought for $31,000. An additional amount of $25,000 for renovations was raised by 3% debenture bonds.
In 1959, the marina was built and slips rented. Again the dues were raised, this time to $50. Improvements continued. The swimming pool was built in the late sixties; the ballroom was enlarged; grounds improved; marina improved;clubhouse remodeled inside and out; including a new addition for the galley and remodeled restrooms. In the mid 1990’s a major dock restoration project started with B dock in the basin area. Later that century A dock basin and river were restored.