The Detroit Yacht Club

Detroit Yacht Club
This week Danny and I went on a tour of the Detroit Yacht Club on Belle Isle.  I’d driven past it on many occasion but this was my first opportunity to see the inside.  The tour was very informative (perhaps excessively so) and led by a lifelong member.  The DYC has an interesting history.  It is the 12 oldest yacht club in the United States (established 1868) but the building itself wasn’t as old as we expected.  The DYC’s building as it currently stands was built in the 1920s.  It was designed by architect George D. Mason who built the Masonic Temple, Gem Theatre and many other Detroit landmarks.

Detroit Yacht Club

The facility is gorgeous and very well maintained.  The ballroom was designed to replicate the medieval hall of a  Saxon castle in England.  Another fun fact: the balcony serves no purpose to the club. It was included because all great halls of that era had a Jester’s balcony.

Detroit Yacht Club
I was in awe of the hand painted ceilings.  The fine detail and attention given to construction in the past never ceases to amaze me.  I wish we continued to dedicate that kind of time to our homes and office buildings.
Detroit Yacht Club

I’m also a sucker for stained glass windows.  It’s such a fun design element and a signature of a bygone era.  I’m not sure I’ve seen a stained glass window in a building less than 50 years old.

Pewabic Detroit Yacht Club

One of my favorite feature of the club is the abundance of Pewabic Pottery tiles.  Pewabic’s founder, Mary Chase Stratton, was a member of the DYC and offered to provide tiles for the building.  She stipulated that she have full control of what was created and where it went and I think she did a fantastic job.  Throughout the facility you can find unique tile designs on the walls and floors, including two gorgeous water fountains.

PewabicDetroit Yacht Club

I loved this tile Stratton designed for the DYC’s womans’ group.  In 1927 the women (Stratton included) began to refer to themselves as The Seagulls so she created a tile to use as their emblem.

The Detroit Yacht Club has a beautiful building and I’m so glad I read about their free tours because I doubt I will ever be able to afford a membership.  If you like history I would suggest checking it out.  The tour is a little lengthy (2 hours) but the building and it’s objects are fun to look at.

Tours begin at 6:30 p.m. and it’s recommended that you notify the club of your interest at least two days before the tour date.  The remaining tours in 2014 will be on May 6, June 3, July 1, September 3 and October 7.


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