Skip to main content





The St. Croix Yacht Club was founded by Bill Boker and Don Bentzen, in 1946. These two gentlemen owned boats that had been confiscated by the Coast Guard in 1943 for river patrol during World War II. At the conclusion of the war, the Coast Guard refurbished the boats and returned them in 1947 to the original owners. At that time, Boker and Bentzen resumed pleasure boating on the St. Croix River out of Sunnyside, and with ten other boating friends, founded the St. Croix Yacht Club. Boker and Bentzen shared the leadership of the Club during these early years until 1954 when Newell Paige was elected the Commodore. The majority of the original owners all had runabouts and there was a group known as "The River Rats" among them.
The original Clubhouse was an old railroad car and is now the framework for our present kitchen; the bathroom facilities consisted of an "outhouse." One of the early parties was a fund raiser, and the proceeds from that were used to add the center room with the fireplace.


One of the early concerns of the Yacht Club was attracting new members, and to accomplish that, the Progressive Boat Party was conceived and has proved to be one of the most popular parties in the Club. The original Commodore's Ball was held in February with a Valentines Day theme. It was a free party for members...guests paid their own way. The parties provided the sociability with other boaters, which has become our greatest asset. We have all formed lasting friendships from the fine people we have met in the Club.


In the early days it was apparent that the Club needed a beach to picnic, swim and party on. Permission was granted to beach on the Southside of Hi-Line Beach, from Mike McClear, a fisherman, who used the pond to store carp until he could sell them to the New York market. The pond is now open for our boating use, through Kruse's cut.


In 1957 we purchased the Southside of Hi-Line for $5,000 and leased the Northside of Hi-Line from George Goggins of Stillwater. Bill Cotter for years negotiated a lease with Goggins, and in 1979 the Northside of Hi-Line beach was purchased from the Goggins family. Catfish Beach was leased and finally purchased in 1970 from a Wisconsin real estate man, George Webber. Electricity was installed on Hi-Line Beach in 1966 and after it proved successful, was installed at Catfish Beach a few years later. We have experimented with outhouses and trash barrels on the beach, and after several years both conveniences proved to be more trouble than they were worth. The Clubhouse has also grown through the years and the latest addition is a tribute to the hardworking building committee and the foresight of the Board of Directors in recognizing a need for expansion of our facilities.


The St. Croix Yacht Club has grown from 12 members in 1948 to well over 300 members and today represents, without question, the finest Yacht Club in the Upper Mississippi Area.


History Page Album



The St. Croix Yacht Club is located on the St. Croix River in Stillwater, Minnesota. One of our two private beaches is located just South of Stillwater on the Wisconsin side of the river. The second of the two beaches is located in Afton, on the Wisconsin side of the river.


The purpose of the Club is the promotion of social and aquatic functions as specified in Article II of the Amended Articles of Incorporation


Leadership Legacy- a History of Commodores from 1951 - 2020

Browse the portraits of all 67 Past Commodores, scanned from images displayed in the Club House.  Select the thumbnail control in the lower lift to see all images at once.  What a legacy we have.
Past Commodores
Thanks to Jeff LaCroix and Ed Evans for the care in scanning these images now available for all to see.