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The clubhouse at 1134 Harbor Dell in Godfrey as it appears today.
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An artist’s rendering of the original clubhouse, located on the river near Clifton Terrace Road.
GODFREY – Since the 1940s, the Alton Motorboat Club has been making a splash in the Greater Alton area.
On June 14, it is opening up its dock to welcome guests and potential new members with an open house celebration. A wild game cookout, fish fry, open kitchen menu, live entertainment, door prizes and more are among the day’s festivities.
“We are really excited,” Membership Chair Linda Johnson-Petterson said.
Johnson-Petterson has been with the club since 1989, an organization that according to records reaches back to at least 1941.
“Originally, we were boaters and we met some friends who told us to check out the club,” Johnson-Petterson said. “We loved it. It was a party atmosphere, and we felt so welcomed.
“Also, it is so nice and reassuring to always have a fellow club member help out when you have issues on the water.”
Reaching beyond the waves, the club also hosts family-friendly events throughout the year such as Easter bunny appearances, visits from Santa Claus, golf outings, membership drives, turkey shoots, and more.
The club has 206 regular members, along with 131 “social” members, who have access to clubhouse events without some of the other amenities. Full club membership comes with part ownership in the club.
Everyone involved is a volunteer, with the exception of the cook and the bartender.
“We are 206 owners, each with 1/206 share of the club,” Johnson-Petterson said. “The harbor is owned by the Corps of Engineers, but the club is here because of its members.”
The original clubhouse was located on the river near Clifton Terrace Road. Ground was broken and construction began on the new clubhouse in 1956.
“The members went around to their friends and business acquaintances to ask them for a financial investment in building the new club,” Johnson-Petterson said. “As the club made money, they paid off these individuals. To determine who they paid back first, they put names in a hat and drew one out until they finally paid everyone back.”
Not everything has been smooth sailing over the years. The Great Flood of 1993 heavily damaged the clubhouse, and extensive renovations had to be made.
“It was bad, but you can always get something good out of something bad,” Johnson-Petterson said.
The Alton Motorboat Club Open House will be held from noon until 6 p.m. on Saturday. Live entertainment will be provided by Roland Overmeyer.
The clubhouse is located at 1134 Harbor Dell in Godfrey. For more information, call (618) 466-2142.