Nearly 3 years after fire, Annapolis Yacht Club reopens (Photos)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — It was Dec. 13, 2015. Jim Ellis, the commodore at the Annapolis Yacht Club, remembers getting the call that the building was on fire. The billowing smoke coming from the yacht club on Spa Creek in Annapolis could be seen for miles.

“My first thought was, is everybody OK?,” he said.

The staff was at work at the club, preparing for a party celebrating the annual Parade of Lights, a holiday tradition on the water.

“Fortunately, except for one minor injury to a firefighter, everybody was OK, both in the evacuation and in fighting the fire after that,” Ellis said.

The building was a total loss; damages came to $9 million. The cause of the fire was a decorated Christmas tree.

Ellis said the 1,600 club members felt the loss of their gathering place, but that wasn’t all: “It was also a great loss for our employees — we have 150 employees who work at the Annapolis Yacht Club,” said Ellis.

The club was able to operate out of a local restaurant, and employees could continue to work.

The view along Spa Creek at the Annapolis Yacht Club. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
The view along Spa Creek at the Annapolis Yacht Club. (WTOP/Kate Ryan) (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
The view from the bar inside the rebuilt Annapolis Yacht Club. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
The view from the bar inside the rebuilt Annapolis Yacht Club. (WTOP/Kate Ryan) (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
The outside of the Annapolis Yacht Club. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
The outside of the Annapolis Yacht Club. (WTOP/Kate Ryan) (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
The cannon mount at the Annapolis Yacht Club. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
The cannon mount at the Annapolis Yacht Club. (WTOP/Kate Ryan) (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
On the left is what’s left of the original Bill Bennett Leadership Award, presented to the Junior Fleet. It was destroyed in the 2015 Annapolis Yacht Club fire. You can see how it was melted down in the heat. On the right is the new version. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
On the left is what’s left of the original Bill Bennett Leadership Award, presented to the Junior Fleet. It was destroyed in the 2015 Annapolis Yacht Club fire. You can see how it was melted down in the heat. On the right is the new version. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
Commodore Jim Ellis at the Annapolis Yacht Club. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
Commodore Jim Ellis at the Annapolis Yacht Club. (WTOP/Kate Ryan) (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
Gleaming copper-bottomed pots in the Annapolis Yacht Club kitchen. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
Gleaming copper-bottomed pots in the Annapolis Yacht Club kitchen. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
The Annapolis Yacht Club has reopened nearly three years after a fire. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
The Annapolis Yacht Club has reopened nearly three years after a fire. (WTOP/Kate Ryan) (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
Fire fighters battle a blaze that broke out at Annapolis Yacht Club on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015. (Photo courtesy of Bob Waugh)
Fire fighters battle a blaze that broke out at Annapolis Yacht Club on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015. (Photo courtesy of Bob Waugh) (Courtesy Bob Waugh)
(1/9)
The view along Spa Creek at the Annapolis Yacht Club. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
The view from the bar inside the rebuilt Annapolis Yacht Club. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
The outside of the Annapolis Yacht Club. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
The cannon mount at the Annapolis Yacht Club. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
On the left is what’s left of the original Bill Bennett Leadership Award, presented to the Junior Fleet. It was destroyed in the 2015 Annapolis Yacht Club fire. You can see how it was melted down in the heat. On the right is the new version. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
Commodore Jim Ellis at the Annapolis Yacht Club. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
Gleaming copper-bottomed pots in the Annapolis Yacht Club kitchen. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
The Annapolis Yacht Club has reopened nearly three years after a fire. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
Fire fighters battle a blaze that broke out at Annapolis Yacht Club on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015. (Photo courtesy of Bob Waugh)

Now, nearly three years later, the club has been rebuilt, its white trim gleaming in the sun. New floor-to-ceiling windows allow for a view of the yachts and other boat traffic along Spa Creek and the Severn River.

Even as the club opens for lunches and events, Ellis continues to check on the smallest of details that make the club a comfortable, and stylish, second home for members. “Until they came in and said ‘Wow, we love this!’ it wasn’t done,” he said.


Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

© 2018 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up