Quannapowitt Yacht Club is the oldest in-land yacht club in America. The first boathouse was built in 1872 by Civil War soldier, Albert S. Wiley at the end of Spaulding Street. Along with his son, Will, a second and much larger boat house was built in 1880 which was to become Quannapowitt Yacht Club. Holding its first official meeting on June 9, 1880 and a subsequent official election of officers took place on April 8, 1881 at the home of Mr. Will Wiley. W.T. Van Norstrand was elected the first QYC commodore, Junius Beebe as Vice Commodore and Will Wiley as treasurer.
The first published mention of a Quannapowitt Yacht Club appeared in a news article in April 1895. This articled stated that a group of men gathered at the home of Will H. Wiley to re-organize the club, elect officers, and adopt a constitution. Its purpose ‘shall be the promotion of rowing, canoeing, and sailing and the encouragement of sociability among its members.’ Membership fee at that time was $2.00 and was limited to 100 people. In 1887, Mr. Will Wiley built an even larger and more modern boathouse at the end of Lake Avenue right on the shores of the lake. In 1912 the clubhouse was largely expanded with a second story dance hall edition.
In 1923 the boathouse was purchased by Harold & Gertrude Hill and a very popular social club known as Hill’s Boathouse until it was later sold to the Town of Wakefield and demolished in 1964.
There is little mention of the yacht club from the early 1900s to 1912 when another reorganization meeting was held, again at Mr. Wiley’s home. With a fee of $5.00 and no annual dues for the first year, the Quannapowitt Yacht Club revised the former yacht club constitution and bylaws on May 17, 1912. The club had three classes of boats with a cup awarded in each class after a seven-race series. Interest in sailing on Lake Quannapowitt fluctuated during the next two decades, with renewed interest in 1931, and again in 1936.
On April 26, 1936, a reorganization meeting was held at Hill’s Boathouse and a charter was written. The club’s red, white and blue triangular shaped pennant was adopted in 1938. In 1940, a new charter was written and the Quannapowitt Yacht Club was incorporated. Although plans for a permanent home for the club were initiated in 1942, it wasn’t until spring 1947 that club members towed their floats from Hill’s Boathouse to a site ‘near the old Boston Ice Houses,’ on property owned by club member Wendell Vidito.
The club subsequently purchased the 9000 sq. ft. property on Linda Road for the sum of $1100 and a 12′ x 20′ club house was built near the beach. It was built so that it could be moved or added to in future years. On Memorial Day, 1948, after the members dug the foundation by hand, the clubhouse was moved to a concrete foundation on a hill. Additional land was purchased in 1953, and in 1961 the present clubhouse was built, with a porch added in 1971 and later enclosed with sliding glass doors.