CRANSTON LANDMARK: An undated view of the 1908-built Edgewood Yacht Club clubhouse before it was destroyed by fire. The Coastal Resources Management Council has approved plans for a $3 million reconstruction.
Edgewood Yacht Club Commodore Wayne Kezirian described the atmosphere along the Cranston waterfront as “akin to a funeral” following the 2011 fire that destroyed the club’s historic clubhouse.
“It wasn’t just members who were affected, but neighbors,” Kezirian said. “That building hosted many community events and a lot of people were married there. There were a lot of strong ties.”
A shingle-style Victorian landmark that survived the hurricanes in 1938 and 1954, the two-and-a-half-story clubhouse perched above Narragansett Bay was engulfed in flames after being struck by lightning in January.
In the wake of the fire, club officials did all they could to keep the yacht club operating and maintain its docks and moorings for members, sailing classes and the Brown University Sailing Team.
Still, a yacht club isn’t the same without a clubhouse and since the fire the organization has been formulating plans to rebuild.
This month the state Coastal Resources Management Council approved plans for a new clubhouse within the original footprint.
Although there are a few permitting loose ends to tie up, the state approval is expected to clear the way for work on the building to begin this spring.
If all goes according to plan, a new clubhouse could be ready in time for a summer of regattas and gin & tonics on the veranda in 2015.
“Folks are really excited about it,” Kezirian said. “We received a positive letter from the mayor and social membership [in the club] is actually up since the fire.”
The Edgewood Yacht Club was founded in 1885 and its first clubhouse was built in 1889, but, like its successor, succumbed to fire.
Designed by Murphy, Hindle & Wright, the second clubhouse was built in 1908 and was the oldest existing yacht clubhouse in the state when it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.
Perched atop pilings driven into the bay and surrounded by a network of docks and boat slips, the clubhouse’s architecture was similar to that of numerous Rhode Island yacht-club buildings wiped out by storms and fires over the course of the 20th century, according to its National Register application.
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