The first settlers who arrived in the area that is now Ossining arrived by navigating the Hudson River. These settlers developed small towns along its banks for various purposes such as shipping, manufacturing, and exploiting the natural resources of the area. Ossining’s beginnings encompass all of these. As Ossining grew, commercial interests outpaced more aesthetic ones and the river was abused and environmentally violated. Ossining expanded inland, away from the river, as the citizenry developed properties to the borders of Yorktown, Croton, and Tarrytown. In an ironic twist, the very attractiveness of the Hudson River and its abundance of natural resources were to spell out its downfall.
Fortunately, we are witnesses to a revival of the river as we become more aware of the beauty of the Hudson and as there is a collective feeling of responsibility to preserve its shores and waterways. All along the Hudson, we can witness a rebirth of the original settlers’ awe of what they discovered and we find that communities are joining forces to once again settle along its banks while restoring its shoreline for future generations to enjoy.
There is an assortment of versions as to the origin of the Ossining Boat and Canoe Club ranging from its being rescued as it floated down the Hudson River to its origin as what we now know as Shattemuc.The Ossining Boat and Canoe Club was founded in 1915. At first it doesn't sound like it was that long ago, but then we realize that cars were not all that common and that the highways in our area were not yet built. There were no malls or shopping centers and all goods where bought on Main Street or from a catalogue. The Tappan Zee Bridge would not exist to take us to the other side of the river for another forty years. Canoeing was an active national sport in those days and the club put a group in the water called the “Black Hawks”. This team competed as far away as Canada in a four man racing canoe.
The original clubhouse was erected by the members on the present site, just south of the Ossining RR Station on Westerly Road, in 1921. With the exception of some minor changes to the façade, the structure remains identical to its original frame.
Some recent renovations to the club property include: a newly constructed ramp from the clubhouse to the docks, ample docking space for visitors and boaters in distress, and a completely refurbished upper deck offering magnificent views of the Hudson River and its shores. In addition to these, heating and air-conditioning were added to the club building.
The boat basin itself is not so different from the days of the original site though modern moorings have replaced the wooden tree poles of the past. The club's location on the east bank of the Tappan Zee has always provided sailors with miles of open water and fishermen with ample fishing spots.The club was concieved so that members could have access to the river at a reasonable rate. In order to maintain these reasonable rates all clubhouse maintenance and repairs are completed by the membership. There have always been two classifications of membership - working and associate. To accommodate schedules that do not allow for volunteer work hours, a third status was added as non-working. Our application form requests that the applicant list his or her skills and professions - in that way we make use of an invaluable pool of resources.
As the club flourished over the years, it has recognized the importance of community involvement and so it has embraced several community-based projects. Some of these projects include working with the US Safety Foundation of Boat US. The clubhouse also hosts the Ossining Community Sailing Club and US Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla #6-7 which sponsors boat safety and navigation courses to the members and the public at large. In addition, the Ossining Boat and Canoe Club is host to the Ossining American Legion and VFW Ceremony honoring those servicemen and women buried at sea.