Rutherford Boating Club Shows Fascinating History

Author: [North Jersey]

It was nearly ninety years ago that a Rutherford carpenter named Clarence Jesse Hardin (1883-1956) acquired several lots of open land along the Passaic River on Riverside Avenue, just at the bottom of West Newell Avenue. Subsequently, Hardin would go to work and transform the property into a Mecca for boating enthusiasts when he established the Rutherford Yacht Club in the spring of 1928, headquartered in a splendid 2 and one-half story wood and brick clubhouse, built with the help of his friend, architect Louis B. Huesmann.

“Commodore Hardin,” as he became known, helped promote motor boat transportation to South Bergen. Born in Hackettstown, Hardin was Rutherford’s building inspector from 1925 until he retired in 1953. His club, which grew to more than 100 members, sponsored weekly outboard motor boat races over courses of four and one-half miles on the Passaic. Hundreds of spectators came to Riverside Avenue to view races in boats manufactured by such vintage names as Thompson Boat, Dodge Water Car, and Christ-Craft. Christ-Craft, originally made by Christ Smith & Sons in Algonac, Mich., subsequently opened a showroom at 350 Riverside Ave., location of the Nereid Boat Club’s boathouse (extant).

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