A young Arthur Dumas, son of founder Alfred Dumas, stands in front of the second club building in 1936
established in 1934
In 1925 Salem’s Wilfred LeBlanc lived at 70 Palmer Street. From there, you could see Mr. Dumas’ Coal & Wood Yard, which was situated where the club is today. Alfred Dumas had many friends, including LeBlanc, who would hang around his office after work to have a little nip and play cards. LeBlanc and his friends were boat owners and this gathering soon became more of a social boating gang.
Soon thereafter, Fred Lavoie started a boat yard which is still in the same place we now have. Mr. Dumas had several garages and horse stalls located where the lockers now reside. Around 1931, Wilfred LeBlanc and Joseph Gagnon realized the growing interest in boating and the seed was planted to form a formal yacht club. At that time there was only a granite pier and one float to the left of the old runway which was made of greased wood skids for hauling boats into the boat yard.
Historical account dated February 12, 1972:
“In 1926 we talked about organizing a yacht club. We talked to Mr. Alfred Dumas, the owner of this land then, plus all the sheds. He bought us a large chicken coop. We started to have our meetings with about a dozen members. We elected Mr. Joseph Gagnon our first commodore, and about one or two years later he died. I was elected as the second commodore and I retained the job for about five or six years. October 20, 1932 I went to the City Hall and got a permit to build our second club. We started to build as soon as we could, and by around Christmas we started to occupy the club and do alot of finishing. I had plenty of help and I enjoyed it. The time was during prohibition … we paid 25¢ a month for dues and we had close to $1000.
The club frames, floors and studs were all second-hand lumber, plus the roof. But all the trimmings, shingles, and roof was [sic] all new materials. The cost was about $900. Four or five years later we had a fire one night in the club from the coal stove we had for heat. It cost us more to repair it than it cost to build it.
At a meeting February 16, 1934 we had hired a lawyer to come to this meeting to form and incorporate our club. Present were the following as charter members: J. Wilfred LeBlanc, my brother Arthur, the first Commodore’s son Wilfred J. Gagnon, Arthur Cote, Leo Le Boeuf, Francis Nazaroff and William Talbot … In the first club, we had made and formed our club pennant.”
J. Wilfred LeBlanc
The City of Salem issued a building permit on October 20, 1932. The first building was constructed at a cost of $597.90 for materials and labor.
Our club burgee was voted on to be “a blue swallowtail pennant on which shall be inscribed a white witch riding on a broom facing the hoist with four white stars, one star located in each corner of the pennant” reflects the heritage of Salem, the “Witch City.”