Meriden Motor Boat Club
Founded in 1908 as "a working man's club", MMBC, remains that way today.
Members support all operations of the club, from the ground's care, dock set up and tear down, to everything in between. All members are assigned to a committee, such as Grounds or Haul and Launch. In addition, members must attend a fall and spring work party, 2 mandatory club meeting, and 2 other club meetings each year.
Throughout the year, the club hosts a number of events for its members, such as a 4th of July party, Fleet Captain's Cruise, and annual Halloween and Christmas parties, among many others.
2022 Fleet Captain's Cruise to Gildersleeve Island
A 1916 picture of Middletown and Portland
A long history...
William Walter Wilcox, a Middletown, CT native, acquired a controlling interest in a grommet manufacturing company in Middletown - Wilcox, Crittenden & Co. in the late 1800s.
In 1907, William Wilcox Jr. donated land on the Portland side of the Connecticut River for use by future generations.
On Sept. 1, 1908, the Meriden Motor Boat Club was formed during a meeting of 25 Meriden boat owners that took place on an evening in early September at the Cook Avenue home of Clayton E. Brewer, who at that meeting was also elected the club’s first Commodore.
Brewer owned a 20-foot motor boat named Nellie. At the end of October that year the members found the land along the CT River in Portland that was owned by Wilcox and Crittenden Company and the land was eventually deeded to MMBC members for safe, enjoyable and affordable boating.
It was established as "a working man's club"
"We think of the camaraderie we have today and wonder if the organizers and Mr. Wilcox could have imagined what they started and how much the many current members feel about the roots of the MMBC."- Middletown Press 2008 club official on 100-year anniversary.
Wilcox, Crittenden & Co.
In 1869, Wilcox formed a partnership with three of the younger men of his organization, Albert R. Crittenden, E. Bound Chaffee, and Homer Churchill. Crittenden purchased a tenth interest in the business for $5,000, and name of the firm was changed to Wilcox, Crittenden & Company.
In the maritime world, steam was gradually replacing sail, and the company's 1870 catalog offered such varying products as shackles, thimbles, ring bolts, "Ereful whistles," engine-room signals, boat nails "of good Swede's steel heavily galvanized," and cotton hooks "New Orleans pattern." A new outlet for sail makers was in manufacturing awnings and the company began stocking awning hardware as well. In 1883, Wilcox developed an improved brass grommet (which became known as the spur grommet), secured its approval as standard equipment by the British Admiralty, and eventually it was adopted by all the leading navies of the world. By the late 1880's, Wilcox, Crittenden & Company had become the largest manufacturers of marine hardware with the most diversified line in the United States. Two of the buildings still stand in Middletown on South Main Street.