Michigan Governor G. Mennen "Soapy" Williams Swan Regatta 1955.
In the late 40’s it was the dream of Vic Haener to have a meeting place for boating enthusiasts on Swan Creek. So, in 1947 he got together with the local cottage owners and some local farmers and formed the Swan Boat Club. At that time, most of the dwellings along Swan Creek were owned by people from up river, and were used for summer homes. Over the years they have been converted to full time residences. The cost to join our club was a $10 initiation fee and $5 for yearly dues. The first club house was a 20 X 20 cottage on the same site we are on today. Since most people kept their boats at their cottages, dockage was not needed at this time. The club was mainly used for card playing and beer drinking. In those days the boats were made out of wood and had outboard engines on them. Vic Haener purchased the first inboard.
Over the 68 years of existence there have been some good times as well as some bad. Some highlights are: The great Regattas with boat races for the Governor’s Cup (in the 50’s and 60’s Michigan Governor "Soapy Williams" who was a member of Swan, would preside over the boat races on Swan Creek), our famous chicken dinners put on by the local volunteer fire department (still done the same way today), a sail boat race between Detroit Beach Boat Club and Swan, sky divers, helicopter rides, demolition derby’s, horse and tractor pulls, air shows, mud ball games, dinghy races, an old boat show, and we even had snowmobile races in the winter.
Some of the bad times were: the low water we experienced in the mid 60’s (such as we are experiencing today). The floods of the 70’s when our membership dropped to 47 members, of which 13 are still alive and well today. Or the time the dues were raised from $5 to $10, and the membership went from 495 to 200 overnight! Today our club is sound and prosperous with a card carrying membership of over 250! We have dockage for over 125 member boats ranging up to 40’ in length as well as transient dockage for visitors.
Back in the early days of Swan, someone would ask, “how do I get there by boat?” The answer would be “look for the Windmill just north of the entrance.” Today we say, “just look for the Cooling Towers for Fermi II Power Plant just south of the entrance.”
Since our charter was established in 1948 to the present, we have had 59 Commodores from Vic Haener, our founder, to our Commodore for 2020 Peter Watkin. Ask any of our members, men or women, we feel we are one of the friendliest clubs on the Great Lakes. And, although we are a private club, we still consider our club as a “Port of Refuge” for all boaters. We welcome you to join us in celebration and boating on Americas Inland Seas.