NBBC History


The New Brighton Boat Club(NBBC) was founded in 1964 by Charles Hoefling Jr, Robert J. Miller, Charles E. Cook, John P. Masson, and Mark E. Vosler. These men were in search of a place where they could pull their boats in and have a picnic, waterski or just kick back and relax.

In those days, the river ran just a few feet in front of what is now our patio. Blockhouse Run made a deep gully through what is now our parking lot by the launching ramp. Our picnic area at that time was just wide enough for a car to pass through down to what is now our swim area.

Charles Hoefling Jr. was the first commodore of the boat club, and it was under his leadership that it all began. First of all we contacted W.S. "Beaner" McDanel, then Borough Manager, about putting in a ramp for launching. The borough dozed in the ramp right in front of where our clubhouse now stands, but it did not prove successful due to the mud. About the same time, we built our first docks which were down in the present swim area. These were a far cry from the docks we have today. They were one drum wide and were like walking a tight rope. The boats were never permanently tied to the docks, they were just a place to tie up temporarily. These docks did not last long, only one year before the ice took care of them.

Shortly after this, our next project consisted of T.C. Inman, a former member, bringing in some heavy equipment and making our picnic area and upper parking lot. Our first permanent docks were built out in the river in front of our present clubhouse with walkways built out to them. They started at the launching ramp and went down river past the clubhouse. There were about 10 to 12 slips aproximately 12 to 14 feet long. At this time, about all the boats were runabouts. Then the job of filling in from the old river bank out to the docks became a project. Jack Masson acquired a pile of what looked like good fill dirt, but it turned out to be gigantic rocks which we dumped in front of where the clubhouse now stands. With the help of Jack's equipment, a growing membership, and a lot of sweat and toil, these rocks were manhandled and spread around and top soil applied. This made our present front lawn.

The next big project was constructing the launching ramp. Since big projects seemed to be the life line of the New Brighton Boat Club, it was inevitable that a clubhouse would be built. It was designed by Charles Hoefling, Professional Architect and first Commodore of the Club. The building of the clubhouse was really a club project. Each one who had a special skill was utilized in the construction and he lead a group of willing helpers. In this way, we all learned the details of the various facets of building and working together.

All the roughing-in was done with used lumber and believe me, there were many hours spent pulling out nails and sorting out this wood. As money became available, the interior was finished with paneling. The concrete dock was about the next job in line, which took a lot of brute strength to pound pilings into the river, wheel loads of concrete out there and finish the concrete.

We had several crisises in those years with high water. Many will remember when we all spent nights on the railroad tracks watching boats tied in the trees, furniture piled on the roof and some lashed to a raft made of styrofoam which was tied to a tree outside the kitchen. Then there were the hours of shoveling mud out of the clubhouse and the bucket brigades to scrub the worst out of the way. Another was a freak storm that hit on a Sunday evening about 7:30 p.m. By 2:00 a.m. the docks were all twisted and turned. Many boats were pulled out, many were left in till about 5:00 a.m. It was just wait and watch. It looked as though for a while we would lose all our docks, but thankfully we came out o.k. After some more hard work we had good docks again. With each crisis it seemed we learned more about cabling and securing our docks. The next project was the building and erection of the floating docks and the bridge. If it weren't for the expertise, physical help, devotion, cooperation and good fellowship of the members of this club, we would not have what we proudly call our New Brighton Boat Club.