Celebrating the Past, Looking to the Future: LHYC Toasts Building Centennial

Chris Crafts and Bayliners lined up for a boat parade; partygoers carried parasols, canes, and digital cameras; peacock feathers and top hats bounced on the dance floor to the words of Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love”—all in a past-meets-present celebration of the opening of the Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club building, which has stood overlooking the main lake since 1910.

lhyc_centennial_-_11_-_clubhouse“Our rejoicing on this occasion is all the greater because of years of waiting and work…Many thought this a dream and some a nightmare, but dream or nightmare, we awake this morning to find this beautiful reality,” commodore Ken Heaton said to the crowd on Saturday after ceremonially opening the doors to the clubhouse and waiting for many of the event’s 300 guests to fill the Adirondack-style ballroom. The words came from the speech given by the club’s first commodore, R.L. Edwards, on July 9, 1910.

A nightmare of a forecast became a dream when the clouds parted early on Saturday afternoon, giving the event sunshine and comfortable temperatures, despite predicted rain and thunderstorms. Past commodore Tom Wiss IV, who spearheaded much of the centennial effort, said the weather was a gift from his father, another past commodore who passed away in 1997—echoing the comments of many who suggested that a miraculous change of weather must have been arranged by a century’s worth of Lake Hopatcong sailors and boaters. “Some now-deceased members must have pulled some strings up there,” said Soraya Rodriguez of Hopatcong. “You couldn’t ask for a more perfect night.”

The celebration began with more than 20 boats, most adorned in either patriotic or turn-of-the-century décor, parading across the front of the clubhouse as dockmaster Bob Rice introduced each vessel. Then, past commodores and current members of the LHYC board of trustees followed a procession into the ballroom, filling a space that looks nearly the same today as it did when the first members entered the building. lhyc_1910_-_6

Heaton’s rededication was followed by a series of presentations, including a proclamation celebrating the club that was submitted by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen to the U.S. Congress, a commemorative plaque presented by Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum president Marty Kane, and proclamations from Freeholder William J. Chegwidden and Mt. Arlington Mayor Arthur Ondish.

A champagne toast was followed by an evening of food, drink, and dancing, as well as an awards presentation for top boats and costumes.  Because the event was sponsored by the Rums of Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rico Tourism Board, and other businesses and private individuals, all of the proceeds (which totaled more than $35,000) went to the Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club Historical Foundation—a nonprofit that was established a year ago to preserve the building, which remains one of the sole structures on the lake that not only dates back to the area’s heyday as a resort community, but also carries the same mission as when it began.

“It’s an honor to be part of the new foundation that will ensure the preservation of this great club, for my children, for your children, for my grandchildren and yours,” said Bruce Heverly, a member who also serves on the foundation board, who added that he was confident that his descendents would be around for another 100 years.

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Mike and Chris Smith and friends participate in the boat parade as part of the LHYC club house centennial celebration on Saturday.

 

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Fred and Michelle Eagles and daughters Hannah and Olivia dress up their boat and themselves for the boat parade and centennial ball.

 

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Chris and Donna Norman in period dress for the centennial ball at the Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club.

 

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Cindy and John Deermount arrive by boat—and come dressed in proper 1910 attire.

 

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Commodore Ken Heaton ceremonially opens the doors to the yacht club to reenact the original dedication on July 9, 1910.

 

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Members and guests fill the ballroom as commodore Ken Heaton reads the original dedication speech given by the Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club’s first commodore, R.L. Edwards, 100 years ago.

 

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A champagne toast ended the formal ceremony and sent guests off to eat, drink, and dance—much as they have for the last century.

 

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County Freeholder William J. Chegwidden presents a proclamation to the club on the building’s centennial.

 

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Past commodore and centennial committee chairman George Malanga presents a U.S. Congressional proclamation backed by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen.

 

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Guests—many dressed in period attire—fill the front lawn of the Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club on the night of its centennial celebration.

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