In the early months of 1926, Frederick L. Reid of Stamford, Conn., was operating a battery business in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. His business often took him to New York City where many of his acquaintances were Power Squadron members. It was natural for him while in Poughkeepsie to think of Squadron work and what it could do for yachtsmen in the Mid-Hudson valley. Getting together some boat-minded friends, 11 in all, they organized the Mid-Hudson Power Squadron. They were granted a charter dated June 26, 1926. Mr. Reid was elected first Commander, and Mr. David P. Lane was elected Lieutenant Commander.
Early members were for the most part cruiser owners and members of the Poughkeepsie Yacht Club. They became keenly interested in Squadron classes and Mr. Reid was their first instructor. Mr. Lane recalls the first year of organization - ‘We very proudly flew the Squadron ensign. My own boat at the time had no mast and the question arose ‘where fly the Squadron ensign?’ At first we compromised and flew both Squadron and Yacht club flags from the jack staff together. Later, we alternated and then I installed a mast and flew the Squadron ensign from the starboard yard arm.”
In the early days very few yachtsmen from the Mid-Hudson area sailed as far away as Long Island Sound and Lake Champlain. Cruising waa confined mostly to local waters and members considered themselves real honest-to-goodness sailors. As for early classes in advanced courses, a member had to be a mathematician to carry on. It is no wonder that Prof. Henry White of Vassar College, noted Math. teacher, was such a popular squadron teacher.
During the year 1931 Mr. Reid became National Commander of U.S.P.S.
Mid-Hudson Squadron has never been interested in forming a large membership. Stress has always been on a small but interested group of active members. Keep members active-has been our goal. Like many other Squadrons some members come long distances, some up to 50 miles, to attend monthly meetings and weekly classes. It has been our ambition to teach the Squadron piloting course to everyone interested in boating and to conduct classes for our members who are interested in the more advanced Squadron courses. Mid-Hudson members are from among many trades and professions and have been loyal, ambitious, and unselfish. They have given of much time, money and personal sacrifice to help each other when given the opportunity, over the years. The writer dares say that this cooperative effort is stronger today than at any time in our history-a healthy sign.
Some of our early members deserving special mention who helped with organization and class work in addition to Mr. Reid, Mr. Lane and Mr. Richards, are Tom Parker, Dick Perkins, Prof. Henrv White of Vassar College, Dr. H. P. Carpenter and Howard Sherwood. Following a little later, were such fine instructors and students as Dr. T. M. Proctor, Lansing Lockwood, Russ Lent, Dr. F. C. Shaw, Rev. T. E. Kaminski, Beverly Fredendall, Larry Fitzgibbons and Ben Rhymer-and-today, such men as Lou Sweeny, Carl Fritz, john Mawhinney, and Ralph DeLano.
The prosperity and growth of any organization is dependent to a great extent on its leaders and Mid-Hudson Commanders and officers have done an excellent job in carrying on Squadron traditions.
Past Commander Russell W. Lent in 1938 moved to Buffalo, N. Y. and was instrumental in forming the present Buffalo Power Squadron. Dr. F. C. Shaw in 1949 was transferred to Dannemora, N. Y., and organized the Champlain Power Squadron. P/C Lansing Lockwood was Commander of District No.2 in 1948.
Mid-Hudson members have been interested in both power and sail on the Hudson River and they are currently supporting such organizations as The American Yachting Association, The National Outboard Association, Cruising Club of America, Long Island Sound Yacht Racing Association, The Lightning Class Association (fleet No. 39). Seven members have owned Lightnings. Yacht clubs represented by our members include Poughkeepsie, Kingston, Rondout, Newburgh, Marlboro, Albany, Chelsea, Hudson River State Hospital, Half Moon, Cornwall, Kingston Power Boat Association, Pirate Canoe Club, Orange Lake Ice Yacht Association, and City Island Yacht Club. Present members now acting Commodores are: Dr. C. S. McWilliam of Newburgh Yacht club; Elmer Van Name of Chelsea Yacht Club; Roger Reardon of Kingston Power Boat Association and C. H. Ware of Cornwall Yacht Club.
During World War II, all branches of the Service were represented by Mid-Hudson members. The tales told by various members following the war confirms the fact that they fought in every theatre of the war and deserve our deep gratitude and appreciation.
New York State has at last recognized the greatness and grandeur of the mighty Hudson at just about its navigable center, and a large sum is being expended this year to create an adequate Boat Basin at Norrie Park, 6 miles north of the Mid-Hudson Bridge. This Basin will do great things for the Hudson River, and its boat lovers both large and small. We of Mid-Hudson are fortunate to be entering into a new era of boating activity and we shall make the most of our new opportunities to help others enjoy this grand old river.