Charlotte Power Squadron

Written by P/C T.K. Moore AP

 In 1959, six local men, (Brooks Lindsay, Jimmy Beard, Robert McDuffie, Luke Blackmer, Fred Kennerly and Fred Wichmann), contacted the Winston-Salem Power Squadron about teaching a boating class in the Charlotte area.  They agreed and the course was taught at the Gaston County Wildlife Building in Belmont.  A small group of men, including Lindsay, Beard, Kennerly and McDuffie took the course.

 It was a snap for Lindsay and Beard as they had long been involved in advanced boating activities with a water sports club sponsered by radio station WSOC.  The entire group passed the Piloting class and then became members of the Winston-Salem Power Squadron.  The Commander of that squadron, Don Soifker, soon approved of a division to be formed in Charlotte.  This first group was a division of Winston-Salem Power Squadron.

 As experienced as these early planners were, they needed help if they were going to teach a boating class.  This was a necessary qualification to becoming a squadron and these guys were determined to become a full fledged squadron, with their own charter.

 The word went out via WSOC radio that anyone interested in forming a local Power Squadron should give them a call.  Soon three very significant calls came in. The first was from Charlie Dell AP, the next from Jim Fivecoat JN and the third from Howard Greene.  When asked if he had had any courses, Howard answered yes he had.  When asked which ones, he replied, all of them. ... Howard was an N, or Navigator.

 The first class was taught in the fall of 1960.  There were 65 students.  The Division members who took the Gaston Wildlife Boating Class were now not only teaching their own boating class, but were taking Seamanship, being taught by Charlie Dell AP.

 A charter was now in sight.  A petition with all requirements met, was presented to D/C Luther Haynie, Commander of District 26.  The charter was issued and dated 10 April 1961.

 Charter Night was celebrated on 5 May 1961 at the Barringer Hotel in downtown Charlotte. The first Bridge for Charlotte Power Squadron was sworn in that night:

       Charles A. Dell AP — Commander
       James O. Beard S — Executive Officer
       Howard E. Greene N — Educational Officer
       L. Brooks Lindsay S — Administrative Officer
       Paul E. Halberstadt S — Secretary
       C. Lin Taylor S — Treasurer

The roster now included 48 members, six Lady Certificate holders and three apprentices.  The first squadron meeting was held at the studios of station WSOC.  The first Change of Watch was held at the Regatta Room of the Commodore Yacht Club on Lake Wylie.

The registration for the Spring 1962 Boating Class was 353.  This first class was taught at the old Naval Reserve Armory building in downtown Charlotte.

In March of 1963, District 27 was established and Charlotte Power Squadron became a part of the new district.

The words “spin off” refer to the fathering of a new squadron.  Charlotte Power Squadron has had this honor twice.  In 1964, Catawba Power Squadron spun off under the leadership of John Marshall.  In 1977, Lake Norman Power Squadron spun off led by Tom Whitesides.  Both squadrons are healthy and still growing.

In January 1979, Charlotte Power Squadron leased waterfront property on the South Carolina side of Lake Wylie.  A contest was held to name the “lot” which was won by Grace Halberstadt.  The name Merit Mark Point was established.  In December 1984, Merit Mark Point was purchased from Crescent Land and Timber.

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Updated: 18 May 2011