Grand Rapids Boat and Canoe Club

Memories of O-wash-ta-nong
Grand Rapids Boat and Canoe Club

The Owashtanong Club had been organized in 1886 by John Homiller, a furniture manufacturer. His associates were George H.Perry, a former mayor, and A. B. Kennen and C. W. Chanucey. One of the popular sports was rowing. In 1902 the club was reorganized as the Grand Rapids Boat and Canoe Club and moved to North Park-on-the-Grand. At the time it had a membership of 150 which later increased to 400. Originally it had quarters south of the North Park Bridge but some six years later, the club moved into a new building just north of the bridge. Other sports were shell racing, competitive swimming, tennis and they also had a baseball team. Soon after the end of World War I, the automobile changed things. Members soon joined country clubs at the expense of the North Park club. In the 1902's the club was dissolved. In the 1903's, the property was taken over by the American Legion.
The Owashtanong Club at Reeds Lake came to a fiery end around 1920. It was succeeded by the former Grand Rapids Boat and Canoe Club, on the Grand River at North Park. It met a similar fate in December, 1964.
Ramona Park, on Reeds Lake, is long gone as a recreational center. The vaudeville theater was located where the apartment complex is now. A shopping center occupies the land where the Derby Racer and games of chance once were.
The waters of Reeds Lake which once had passenger steamers, such as the "Major A. B. Watson", "Hazel A." and "Ramona", now hold the sailboats of the Grand Rapids Yacht Club.
Langford Griffin, who had managed the Owashtanong, came to the Peninsular Club in like capacity after the fire.

Created: 5 May 2008; 8 Mar 2009
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/GR/bldgs/boatcanoe.html