The Halloween Yacht Club was founded in 1926 by Commodore Al Phillips and 16 other fishermen with small boats. They acquired several acres of waterfront property by leasing it from the City. This lease is renewed periodically, and today, although the Club owns its clubhouse, the Club still leases the property from the City of Stamford. It is the only parkland that generates revenue for the City of Stamford.
The leased property was, and still is, part of a larger municipal park. This land, on the shores of Long Island Sound, was originally owned by the Homer S. Cummings Family, which willed the land to the City of Stamford. The City took title to Cummings property on Halloween Eve, 1926, and thus the original name, Halloween Park.
The name of the Park was subsequently changed back to “Cummings” to honor the family and its gift, but that portion of the land dedicated to the yacht club retained the Halloween name. The founding Commodore of the Club was Alfred N. Phillips, Jr. Commodore Phillips was a popular man about town. He had been Mayor of Stamford and Representative to the United States Congress. One of the Club members, a local commercial artist, designed the Club's first burgee to include a black witch riding her black broom on an orange field -- Halloween colors. And so the name Halloween Yacht Club was established and remains to this day.
The Halloween Yacht Club is a true community yacht club. Anyone may join, taking advantage of the Club's year-round social, educational, and recreational programs. But only bona fide residents of Stamford may berth their boats at the Club. There are 134 berths, which accommodate sailing and power boats up to 35 feet, summer and winter. The modern dock system floats, and it is equipped with electrical and freshwater service, with a de-icing system for winter. All of these improvements were accomplished by members, who volunteer their time. Maintenance of the facilities is a year-round volunteer activity. From time to time, due to erosion of its banks, the lagoon must be dredged; this is either accomplished by or paid for by members. The buildings and docks are periodically upgraded and expanded. We are proud that HYC members continue to volunteer their time to manage and operate the club, whether it be painting the building, repairing the floats, cutting the grass, or serving on one of the club's management committees.
HYC has always championed for a healthy environment and pollution-free waterways. Many of the Club members actively campaign for a cleaner environment through volunteer community based organizations such as the Stamford Harbor Management Commission, Sound Waters, Young Mariners Foundation, Save the Sound, the Navy League, the Power Squadron and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Throughout our long history the membership has included many who are active in City of Stamford government, distinguished professionals and yachtsmen.
Obviously, Halloween is a “do-it-yourself” yacht club. It’s been that way from the very beginning. The doctrine of spirited and energetic volunteerism is part and parcel of the Club’s By-Laws, and Operating Rules. There is only one paid employee: our Steward. For all these reasons, our membership and activity fees are modest, and we welcome your inquiry.
A bit of trivia: The Halloween Yacht Club burgee is one of three yacht club flags that displays a witch. The other clubs are the Salem (Massachusetts) Yacht Club (the witch is an obvious symbol for this historic club's flag), and the Greenwich (Connecticut) Boat Club. The witch on the Greenwich Boat Club's burgee is green (“Green Witch,” got it?).