The Sandy Beach Park Club has been a cornerstone of our neighborhood since its formation in 1943. The park was originally planned as a park space by the real estate company that was developing the homes in Sandy Beach. With approximately 22 homes in total, 340 children in the school and a total population on Grand Island of 1,000 people, things looked quite different than they do today. The original streets in the development were Greenway Road, Sandy Beach Road, Wallace Drive, and Warner Drive in addition to Steeg and Winter Roads. The neighborhood was split into Sandy Beach 1 and Sandy Beach 2 with Sandy Beach Road and Greenway Road making up Sandy Beach 1. The line extended from Huth Road right through the current park property and in those early days a fence marked the line.
The park was also the site of a water pump station built to supply the neighborhood with fresh water. Sandy Beach 1 owned the water plant. The residents of Sandy Beach 2 had to pay for the water which created hard feelings at times.
The original yacht club was built on the Sandy Beach 2 portion of park land. It was built by the residents who volunteered their time. The developer of the Sandy Beach neighborhood, Pearce and Pearce Real Estate from Lewiston/Youngstown employed a salesman named Mr.James, who managed the development and often threatened to take the yacht club away from the residents if they proposed changes to the neighborhood that he didn’t agree with. Eventually, matters reached a boiling point, and in an argument, George Brunton asked Mr. James how much he wanted for the property. While the amount is not recorded, Mr. Brunton quickly wrote a check for the full amount and commented, “Goodbye Mr. James.” The next day George went to a Presbyterian church in Kenmore and offered memberships for $5.00 to offset his cost. Mr. Brunton became the owner of Sandy Beach 2 and formed a land company with partners Earl Torey, Herb Wilson, Jake James, Horace French, and Mrs. James. As soon as this company was formed, Mr. James began promoting homes for sale in Sandy Beach 2, leaving Sandy Beach 1 quiet for many years. In fact, it was so quiet that Pearce and Pearce gave up the land in lieu of unpaid taxes several years later. A tax auction was held and all of the lots in Sandy Beach 1 were sold for $50.00 each.