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History:  Spalding on founding of DCYC

Al Spalding on founding of dcyc

August 20, 1987

Dear Commodore and Mrs. Goldsmith:

Your kind invitation to attend the Founders Day Regatta on September 4, 5, and 6. has been received and it is with regret that we must decline due to a prior commitment.

The idea of recognizing those who founded this club seems like a good one to me, because most of these things are forgotten as time passes by. At the time we were working on this new club, it didn’t seem to me then that we were founders we were just doing what we had to do for our love of sailing.

It has recently been brought to my attention that all of the early day records of the Club have been lost or misplaced, and that some of the newer members have no knowledge of what took place back in 1956. It is for this reason that I think it would be in order to tell the story of the early days of the Club as I remember it.

As members of the Corinthian Sailing Club located on the eastern shore of White Rock Lake, we enjoyed sailing and racing until a prolonged drought in 1955 severely lowered the level of the lake and made it impossible to sail in parts of it. We held many discussions about moving, and finally about twelve of us made the decision that we would move to Gaza-Little Elm. A few of the members wanted to keep the club at White Rock, which they did, arid it is still in existence today.

Your present site of about five acres above the flood stage was purchased from a man in Denton. We organized a new club, calling it Dallas Corinthian Yacht Club. We wanted to keep as close to our old name as possible. Balfour Patterson, one of our most ardent sailors and a good organizer, was elected commodore.

Money was our number one problem, but Fritz Glitsch, who later became our third commodore, loaned us $15,000 which was lot of money then. Fortunately we were able to pay him back on time.

Preparation of the site, which was covered with brush and scrub growth as well as good and bad trees, and the construction of the club house, were tasks which the members assigned to me.

A large Caterpillar bulldozer was rented on an hourly basis. The first things we needed we needed roads and the driver was instructed to follow me as I walked where we thought the roads should be. The next work was to clear the scrub growth which was about as tall as a man and very tough. It covered most of the area. The bad trees were removed, but any trees which might help the club in the future were spared.

A young and modern architect, Bud Oglesby, was commissioned to design the club house. His concept was to create a building with plenty of screen area for cooling, and with a flat roof which would be used as an observation deck. Air conditioning had not yet become common place.  A large fireplace in the center of the main room was to be used in the winter months.

A building superintendent was employed to construct the building. Several of us decided on the present location which time has shown to have been a good decision. Electric power was available nearby. We purchased a pump and a filter system so we could use lake water. Drinking water would have to be brought from home. A septic tank was installed and in a matter of weeks we had a usable clubhouse.

Gaza-Little Elm, which has been renamed Lake Lewisville, is a flood control lake and nothing permanent could be built in it or on the land up to the flood stage. This meant that all of our walkways arid boat docks had to float to rise and fall with the changing water level. Our next urgent order of business was to build a concrete ramp to launch our boats from the trailers, and to construct a system of floating walkways and boat docks.

Most of our members had Lightning Class boats which were kept in racing condition by being suspended out of the water when not in use. It was decided that we would design walks and docks of a modular construction which would permit us to bolt units together. Our original design consisted of two inch steel pipe runners and cross members spaced to rest on some empty 42 gallon steel barrels. Steel channels were used where the units were to be connected. The walking area was made 2x6 runners and flooring. 

A jig was made at my office and shop and a welder was employed to construct several units on this jig which made them all the same size. They were hauled to the lake and floated. Later the jig was moved to the lake and other units where constructed on the site. I am told that these units proved to be very serviceable. I have no idea if any are in use today. At the time we built these units large pieces of styrofoam had not proved their worthiness so steel barrels were used.

At the beginning of the second year of the club, I was given the honor of being elected its second commodore. After several very happy years and many regattas held at the club, business and personal activities caused me to resign. I no longer make any attempt to sail. The club has grown and prospered and now is in good hands. For all of us who might be considered founders I wish to warmly thank the present membership for remembering us.


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