|A History of Bayside Power Squadron
The First Fifty Years
As written by
P/R/C Arthur Schiller, SN
July 23, 1910 - May 9 2007
It all began in the spring of 1936. There were no local squadrons on Long Island’s North Shore. Graham Lowe,
Secretary of Brooklyn Power Squadron, convinced his Squadron to conduct courses in Elementary Piloting at
Flushing High School. Two hundred people showed up at the first session and at the completion of the course,
eighteen joined the Brooklyn Squadron, but expressed a wish that a local Squadron might be formed.
An organization meeting was held at the Bayside Yacht Club on 16 October 1936. Attended by thirty New York and
Brooklyn Squadron members as well as some unattached members. By-Laws were accepted, charter petition
signed and temporary officers elected. They were Graham Lowe, Commander; Jack deWindt, Lt/Cdr; Ed Norris,
Secretary; and Henry Rappuhn, Treasurer.
Thirty charter members are listed on Bayside’s charter dated 14 November 1936. Bayside became the 18th
Squadron in the USPS which makes it part of USPS early history when we consider there are now 445 Squadrons.
AP and JN as well as elementary classes were started in the spring of 1937, and at the conclusion of the course 30
new members were initiated at our first dinner held at the Amber Lantern in Flushing.
Bayside continued to grow and started elementary classes in Port Washington and Huntington in January 1938.
The Huntington classes eventually led to the formation of Neptune Squadron. In the fall of the same year Jack
deWindt, who succeeded Graham Lowe as Commander, started classes at Sewanaka High School in Floral Park.
The first lecture was given by Charles F. Chapman, author of our textbook, Piloting, Seamanship and Small Boat
Bayside members gave weekly lectures on Elementary Piloting over radio WWRL in Woodside. Cdr. DeWindt also
inaugurated a Mechanical Instruction Course, a forerunner of the present USPS Engine Maintenance Course, under
the chairmanship of J. Fred Howarth.
Interest in boating continued to grow to such an extent that the fall 1939 and spring 1940 classes gave instruction to
over 600 students. The spring class at Flushing High School attracted over 300 persons. The course was
completed with an average attendance of 225.
Bayside’s growth and activities began to be shadowed by the war clouds which appeared to be gathering in the
spring of 1941. Some of the members were already actively serving in the Army, Navy and Coast Guard, where their
Squadron knowledge proved of great benefit to them and our country.
The Coast Guard was undertaking a campaign to enroll Squadron members in their Auxiliary Program, requesting
them to offer their boats and services. Eventually the first Coast Guard Auxiliary Unit on the North Shore, Flotilla
1201, was organized with P/C Palmer as the first Commander and Bayside members forming the nucleus of the
In spite of the beginning hostilities in December 1941, a very busy period began for Bayside. Elementary classes
held in Floral Park, Port Washington, Great Neck and Flushing resulted in increasing our membership to almost
350. A note of sadness crept in when we saw so many of our active members leave us to take their proper place in
the war effort. Many old timers will remember the night of our Anniversary Party at Columbia Yacht Club (later
Riviera) in Port Washington. On that occasion Ed Zurst, one of Bayside’s most active members, was on board ship
somewhere in the Pacific and at exactly 2100 the entire assemblage rose to drink a toast to Ed and at the same
moment, by pre-arrangement, Ed raised a glass to the members of Bayside in return. Among the treasured
possessions of Bayside is the Squadron Ensign which Ed carried with him through the war and presented to us on
his return. A picture of the presentation to P/C Lowe appeared on the front cover of the Ensign Magazine.
Stan Cooper was our first wartime Commander but his administration was not hampered too much by war
restrictions. When Art Fink took over the Bridge in October 1942 Squadron activities were hampered by gasoline
rationing and other restrictions. The Graduation Dinner Dance at the Bayside Yacht Club had to be called off.
Commander Fink had to forego nearly all of the usual Squadron activities. As a result, a special fund was
established know as the "Art Fink Victory Fund" to provide a Victory Party at the conclusion of hostilities. The party
was eventually held during the regime of Commander Peterson.
During the administration of Commander Babcock the USPS started a program of Seamanship Training Classes for
High School students. George Mohr was appointed by Chief Commander Perry to head this program for Bayside.
Under George's leadership, Bayside members conducted classes in many Queens and Brooklyn high schools. He
became Commander in October 1944. He was one of the most likeable men anyone could meet. One got the
feeling he was a real friend. He personally contacted almost every member and urged them to participate in
Squadron activities. The response was amazing and in great measure responsible for our subsequent growth and
recognition as one of the leading Squadrons in USPS.
When the war ended in August 19945, our records showed that 104 Baysiders had served in the Armed Forces of
our country, four never returned. In October 1945 William C. Wolfmuller succeeded George Mohr as Commander.
The Squadron fiscal year was changed to run from June to June so Bill continued as Commander until June 1947.
Under his leadership, the Squadron embanked on an increased social program. He discovered Hank Blanke and
put him in charge of refreshments. For years Hank spent the day before a meeting preparing all kinds of "goodies"
to be served after each meeting.
Bayside was the first to introduce a Power Squadron Church Service conducted solely by and for Squadron
members. Our Tenth Anniversary was celebrated by that never-to-be forgotten Shipwreck Party held in College
Point. During the winter of 1946-47 one hundred new members were added to our roster. Advanced Grades
courses were also heavily attended.
Bayside became the proud owner of the "Muriel", a 50-foot yawl, the generous gift of P/C Jack deWindt. It was
maintained by a regular crew of 6 Bayside members. It sailed out of the Worlds Fair Marina and welcomed any
Bayside who wished to sail on weekends. Practical lessons in Sailing and Seamanship were often conducted on
the trips by P/C deWindt, who was a good example of an old-fashioned yachtsman. The first sailing trip did not get
very far. When they tried to raise the mainsail, it was discovered that someone in the shipyard had varnished the
sail track as well as the mast. The smallest member of the crew, who later became a Commander, was assigned to
scrape the varnish out of the track on the 64-foot mast working in a boatswain's chair. He soon learned to wrap his
legs around the mast each time a boat nearby caused a wake. After two years, lack of interest in sail and the cost
of insurance caused the executive Committee to return the "Muriel" to its donor.
A Predicted Log Race for powerboats was established, the trophy for which, was donated by Walter Dreher and the
race became known as the Dreher Trophy Race. When P/C deWindt died in April 1948, Walter Dreher suggested
that it be re-named he J.P.H. deWindt Memorial trophy.
By 1950 Bayside had over 450 members and was the fifth largest squadron in the USPS.
In 1951 Bayside's quality leadership was recognized by all Squadron's in District 3, by the election of P/C Bill
Wolfmuller to the office of District Commander. At the October 1951 General Meeting, Joseph "Les" Behan, a
Bayside member was honored for his role in the "Pelican" disaster which happened off Montauk Point. Les was
responsible for rescuing many of the survivors of the "Pelican" which had been overloaded and turned over in rough
seas. Les had been a member of Bayside since 1943 and sailed his 40-foot "Bingo II" in the Montauk area.
Bayside members were very active in 1952 and 93 members earned Merit Marks. Sixty-eight had reached Senior
Membership. In the same year P/C Peterson gave the first instruction Techniques Course to twelve Bayside
During the 1953-54 season, General Meetings were held at the Queens Police Post Legion hall. Each meeting
consisted of its business portion and then an interesting program, usually related to boating, was presented,
followed by refreshments. In September 1953 twenty Bayside boats participated in a joint exercise sponsored by
the 1st Marine Division and District 3. The purpose was to determine how Marines could be transported by
volunteer private boats in an emergency.
On 5 November 1954 Bayside celebrated its 18th birthday with a Shipwreck Party at Antun's. It was almost as good
as the one on our tenth anniversary at College Point. The January 1955 General Meeting featured a motion
picture produced by USPS in which Baysiders had played prominent roles, both on the screen and in the
preparation work. At the March meeting Alan Villiers, famous writer and seafarer told about his adventure sailing in
the eastern seas.
The General Meetings in the 1955-56 season were well planned with interesting programs, which attracted the
members. Among the programs were: "Safety at Sea"; "Marine Photography"; "Radio Telephone Regulations";
"How Charts are Made"; and "Canvas for Sail".
At the Annual Meeting of the USPS in January 1956 Bayside's P/C William Wolfmuller was installed as the Chief
Commander of the USPS, certainly a great honor for Bayside. A testimonial dinner for Bill was held on 7 February
at Fairlane's in New Hyde Park. In addition to many Bayside members there were representatives from National,
District and Local Squadrons.
At the 26 May Graduation Dinner dance, Commander Keller, dressed in cap and gown, with six pretty "Personality
Girls" in white caps and gowns, paraded the graduates of the advanced and elective courses to the dais to receive
their new ratings. He then proceeded to perform several magic tricks to the amazement of the audience.
Instruction was given to more than 600 students in the Piloting classes that year. Bayside add 150 new members.
Bayside members also earned 154 Merit Mars in 1956. More than 430 attended the rendezvous at Eaton's Neck
Coast Guard Station. The Summer Cruise consisted of eight Bayside boats, which went up the Hudson and then
on to Lake Champlain. The Squadron also celebrated its 20th birthday with a Barn Dance, attended by 150
members and guest on 10 November. Almost everyone eventually wound up in the "jail house". In December
Bayside broke with all tradition and invited women to the General Meeting. In a delightful break with the past
Bayside's Christmas/Chanukah party had become a family affair and continues to this day. Over 300 members and
guest made the walls bulge.
Bayside made two important changes in its By-Laws in 1957. It created a new class of membership - Life Member.
C/C William C, Wolfmuller became the first to enter this honored membership and P/C Graham V. Lowe, our first
Commander having earned 25 Merit mark, became the second Life member. A new elective office, that of Recorder,
was created to ease the workload of the Secretary.
The growth of the Squadron was reflected by the 400 people who attended the Graduation Dinner Dance on 24
May at the Garden City Hotel. During that year Bayside gave birth to two new Squadrons, College Point and Great
Neck. The charter members for both Squadrons came entirely from within Bayside ranks.
On 7 November 1959, the Fort Totten Officers Club was the scene of a "Roaring Twenties" party. The grand
parade looked like a fashion show in a Chicago speakeasy. The guys and gals danced the Charleston and the
Peabody in costumes dug up from their mothers' (or grandmothers') attics. All this in celebration of Bayside's 22nd
In the spring of 1959, Bayside ran a "Postgraduate N Course" for the firs time. The course was conducted by Nick
D'Amato on an informal basis, for those who held the rating of Navigator, but wanted to brush up on the theory and
techniques of navigation. It also brought veteran Ns up-to-date on methods and materials not in the syllabus when
they took the course.
In 1960 Bayside was honored by the election of P/C/ Arthur Gatehouse to the office of District Commander.
1961 saw Bayside reach out to the younger generation by conducting the New York Sate Junior Piloting Course for
the 10 to 14 year olds. Forty-two boys and girls completed the course, which consisted of rules of the road, safety
measures, boat handling, compass reading, etc.
After a lapse of several years, a class in Instruction Techniques was formed again, by P/C Peterson with 29 active
Bayside instructors as his students. The sessions were held in several homes of the class members.
The General Meetings in the 1961- 962 period featured a variety of speakers and programs on subjects related to
our boating interest and were followed by a socializing period and a heavily laden refreshment table. At the Annual
USPS meeting in Miami, held 13, January 1962, Bayside won First Prize for best teaching aid, a device constructed
by Lt. Ludwig Geist, to demonstrate variation and deviation. Commander Schiller proudly accepted the Ship's Bell
on behalf of Bayside, which the Squadron could hold for one year and then pass on to the new winner, the following
year. By June 1962 Bayside had grown to a membership of 645.
In 1964 at the Annual USPS Meeting in Miami, we again won the First Prize for another teaching aid - a replica of a
Bell Bout - was designed to reproduce the characteristics of any navigational light on the water. Commander Gould
accepted the beautiful "Ships Bell" and brought it back to Bayside for another year.
23 May 1964 was "United States Power Squadrons Day" at the World's Fair. Some 300 Squadronites and their
ladies assembled for the occasion. A flag raising ceremony, with our own P/C/C Bill Wolfmuller as Master of
Ceremonies, raised the USPS Ensign aloft and above the crowds for the entire day. Lunch at the Belgian Village,
sightseeing and a luau at the Hawaiian Village made for a full day.
The 1965 Rendezvous at Eaton's Neck Coast Guard Station was attended by 335 adults and 115 children. Eben
Valentine, who was chairman of the event for many years, reported that hungry Baysiders and their guest,
consumed 14 crates of corn, 62 cases of beer, 40 cases of soda, 1500 hot dogs with rolls to match, 5 gallons of
kraut and several bushels of clams. While Eben and his hard working crew handled the galley, his wife Ruth, kept
the 115 kids busy with games.
In 1966 the Squadron celebrated its 30th anniversary on 11 November, with a Dinner Dance at the Fontainebleau
Hotel. Chief Commander Hutchins attended as well as leading members of District 3. P/C Bert Strauss was
chairman of this special occasion and was given high praise by Commander Edkiss for arranging one of the best
"Founders Day" affairs to date.
Bayside membership had now passed the 700 mark and hard working members earned 180 Merit Marks that year
and 19 Squadronites had already earned 20 or more Merit Marks.
At the District 3 Educational Conference, held 1 November 1969, at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Bayside
once again showed the way by winning five of the nineteen awards given for Teaching Aids. Commander Savage
received the wards at the luncheon in the Delano Hall and proudly presented them to the Teaching Aids Committee
that night at Bayside's Anniversary Dinner Dance.
Under the chairmanship of P/C Charles Silhan, Bayside added 65 new members to the Squadron in 1970. In the
education Department, 13 members had completed all courses offered by USPS.
The 1972 Annual Meeting of the USPS was held in Anaheim, California. Commander Jim Minogue, in addition to
bringing Bayside's Memorial Trophy award winning training aid for competition, also led a delegation of 24 members
and friends to the meeting, by way of San Francisco and Hawaii. Those who made the trip had a wonderful time
and still talk about it.
1973 saw the election of P/C Wally Gould as Commander of District 3. He was the fourth Baysider to become
Many Bayside ladies were taking Advanced Courses and by 1974 five had completed Navigation, two were Junior
Navigators, twenty-six completed advanced Piloting and thirty-five had taken Seamanship.
Shortly after his term of office started in 1976 Commander Nick D'Amato was required by his company to move to
Texas. He was able to carry out his duties as commander with the aid of his other Bridge Officers. Nick's many
years of work in the Squadron were reflected conducting his office, even from a distance.
In 1979 Bayside's quality leadership was again recognized by the election of P/C Howard Savage as Commander of
By 1981 twenty-two Bayside members had a "Full Certificate", having completed all courses offered by the USPS.
This same year Bayside's last surviving charter member made his final voyage. He was William G.F. Wickman, AP.
Bayside's growth was affected by legal problems which the National organization ran into almost ten years ago.
Serve restrictions imposed on all Squadrons by USPS made membership recruiting difficult for every Squadron in
the country. Members lost by attrition were difficult to replace and membership declined, not only in Bayside, but in
the total USPS membership. Our 1982 - 83 Year Book shows a total membership of 254 including 19 Life
Members. The 1984 Year Book shows another drop in membership to 203 which includes 20 Life Members. Our
present membership stands at 192 including 23 Life Members.
At the half-century mark we noticed a good trend in the other direction. USPS has settled its legal problems and
removed most of the severe restrictions placed on recruiting new members. Our recent classes have been larger in
size than in the past several years and this appears to be the trend nationally. Total USPS membership has shown
an increase for two consecutive years after continuously dropping for almost ten years.
Bayside can be proud of its 50-year history. It has always been a leader and produced leaders. Bayside launched
seven Squadrons in the District starting with Neptune in 1983 and then followed by Manhasset Bay, Little Neck Bay,
Smithtown Bay, Sewanaka, College Point and Great Neck. Every National office in the USPS has been at some
time held by a Bayside member. At the present time we have many who are USPS officers or are serving on
important USPS committees.
As we start on our second half-century let us keep up the interest and enthusiasm which has always been a quality
of Bayside members. Our present Commander, Phil Schuster, is continuing the work started by his predecessor,
P/C Tom Biglin, by trying out new programs to get members more active. Lets not only wish him luck, lets actively
The history of Bayside continues.
P/R/C Arthur A. Schiller, SN
July 23, 1910 - May 9, 2007