The White Cross Fishing Club was established on December 18, 1898 when a dozen men gathered at Hohler’s Hall, located at 3027 Third Avenue between 155th and 156th Streets to talk about one of their greatest interests, fishing. George Hohler was elected president that evening and they set up their club on City Island. Then in 1901 they obtained permission to set up a shed on a raft and therefore built a small house on a float off Jack’s Rock at Old Orchard Beach. It was enlarged in 1904 as the club began to grow and the need for more space became obvious.The house was accessed by a pier built on tall pilings with a stairway leading down to the house on the float. Jack’s Rock is still there but since Robert Moses created the new 115-acre Orchard Beach during the 1930’s, the area around Jack’s Rock was filled in and now it is far inland.It is located across the road from the south end of the current Orchard Beach Parking Lot and is largely indistinguishable from other boulders in the area.
The club soon outgrew the little house on the raft and joined the Life Saving Service of New York in 1909 with a branch in Throggs Neck. The following year they purchased the property at 750 Clarence Avenue and began building their own little piece of paradise on Eastchester Bay. The grand opening was held on February 22, 1913. A few years later a pier and float were added. The club continued to grow and additional lots were purchased. Soon the size of their property was more than doubled and the membership rolls continued to grow. A Ladies’ Auxiliary was added in 1934 and that, too, flourished. It is a member of the Interclub Association along with the Manhem Beach Club, the D. A. Beach Club, the American Turners of New York and Askov Hall Beach Club. Their annual interclub swimming races have become an extremely popular event throughout the area over the past sixty years.
750 Clarence Ave Bronx, NY 10465 718-597-7347
White Cross Fishing Club 2019 Executive Board:
President; Kenny Knapp
Vice President; Charlie Nesto
Captain; Joe Digirolamo
House Committee; John Ievoli
Bar Committee; Tom Halpin
Recording Secretary; Charlie Drenzyk
Financial Secretary; Stephen Dziuma
Treasurer; Rich Binetti
Trustee; Billy Carter
Trustee; Rob Knapp
Trustee; Tommy Burke
From the 1948 Journal Celebrating Our Clubs 50th Anniversary:
With affectionate recollection the members of "White Cross Fishing Club" turn back the hands of time to December 1898 when twelve men met at Holer’s Krieger Halle to follow up on an idea discussed the previous month to establish a fishing club. That evening the "White Cross Fishing Association" was born and Xavier Holler was elected the first president. From this humble beginning was laid the foundation of a fishing club which was unique as it also embraced the family life of the angler.
In the year 1900 Jacob Steiger was elected Captain and under his leadership the name of the association was modified to – "White Cross Fishing Club". The new statuses adopted in 1903, brought into office as president Franz Marquard and through his activities the club was incorporated under the laws of New York State on November 18, 1903. The membership totaled 65 and an ambition was realized when a club house was erected at Jack’s Rock on the present site of Orchard Beach. Herman Kolkmann followed him in 1907 with a membership now totaling 75.
In July 1909 the club vacated the quarters at Jack’s Rock and took temporary abode at Shore Drive and Lafayette Avenue, Throggs Neck. The membership was increased to 125 and the desire for a permanent club house was awakened and plans were formulated to purchase property. On February 22, 1911 the members had the satisfaction of seeing their dreams come true when they were in the possession of their own clubhouse on the present site at 750 Clarence Avenue, Bronx. Two years later our flag was adopted and a white cross in a blue field was waving over the clubhouse.
Ernst Schader was elected president in 1915 and improvements for the club advanced steadily and when he resigned eleven years later the membership unanimously acclaimed him honorary president. In 1926 Gustav A Barho was elected president and July of the same year the members celebrated the completion of an addition to the club which gave us the desired space we were seeking. We acquired the property next door at 760 Clarence Avenue in 1926. Gustav A. Barho held the presidency for twelve years and for his excellent service the membership elected him honorary president. Max Walter was elected president in 1938 and after six years of service he was also elected honorary president.
Our present president Otto Reimer, was elected to office in 1944 and his energetic and untiring efforts are furthering the interests and welfare of the club.
In 1944 the pier, which was demolished in November of 1943, was rebuilt through the voluntary work of our members and financed entirely by voluntary contributions of the members and their friends. In 1946 the buildings and pier on our property at 760 Clarence Avenue were torn down and in 1947 a new sea wall was built and the Life Saving Station placed at the boundary which gives us a more spacious beach and grounds.
During this period the Life Saving Station, the Singing Section and the Ladies Auxiliary were founded to add to the social activity and good welfare of the present body.
Back in October 1907 the Life Saving Service of the White Cross Fishing Club was founded, with a personnel of twenty three guards. Since that time the Lie Savers of the White Cross Station held a prominent place in the Life Saving Service of New York.
The Singing Section of the White Cross Fishing Club was founded in 1920, and the social life of the club gained much through their well arranged affairs.
The same is true of the Ladies Auxiliary which since 1934, when it was founded, added much to the entertainment of the club.
Fifty years have gone by.
From twelve members in the first year, our membership has mounted to the two hundred fifty mark today. Out of a very small beginning the club grew from year to year.
The financial status of the club is excellent. We can only admire what our comrades accomplished the first FIFTY YEARS. We are sure we will always have the same spirit and will go on with the work to improve the club more and more.
Or the next fifty years our motto shall be – FORWARD WITH OUR WHITE CROSS FISHING CLUB.