History of East Cooper Outboard Motor Club

The East Cooper Outboard Motor Club (ECOMC) was born as a result of the vision & desires of a group of young men, led by Julian Taylor, who shared a love of family, water, boating & wholesome recreational activities. Our founding members envisioned a place where families could get together with others, picnic areas, boat ramps, landscaping & a clubhouse.
The West Ashley & Charleston Heights were the first two Outboard Motor Clubs in the Charleston area. In early 1956 Commodore Mouzon Taylor, CHOMC, invited Julian Taylor to attend one of their meeting where he was encouraged to organize a club East of the Cooper. Julian, with the help of his wife Ruth & other friends, distributed flyers throughout the local business community, announcing a date & time for the first meeting.
The first meeting of the ECOMC was held at the home of Julian & Ruth Taylor on August 15, 1956 and was attended by approximately twenty-five men interested in forming a club East of the Cooper. With guidance from the Commodores of the other clubs a steering committee was formed to govern the club in the interim. The second meeting was held at the American Legion Post, August of 1956, at which time it was decided to submit the East Copper Outboard Motor Club application for charter to the Outboard Marine Corporation of America. The name “Goldbugs” was adopted based on Edgar Allen Poe history, along with the By-laws of the West Ashley & Charleston Heights clubs. Julian Taylor was elected to be the first Commodore along with officers W.K. Britzius, Robert Sargent, Russell Hydrick, and G.M. Darby & Buddy Murrill. By-monthly meetings continued to be held in member’s homes, American Legion Hut and Etiwan Masonic Lodge. In August of 1957, the club received our Certification of Incorporation, eleemosynary by Secretary of State and was made tax exempt. Our first installation banquet was held, one month later, at the Ocean Highway Grill on Coleman Boulevard. A monthly newsletter, called the”Gold Bug Wake”, was established to provide members with club news & events.
The club built its first boat landing, at Lake Woodland on Hobcaw Creek, on property owned by member George Resch, eventually moving to a landing on Hamlin Creek that was leased from the Beach Company. In the latter part of 1957 Julian Taylor, along with several other charter members, began looking for a permanent location for our club. Gold Bug Island was explored and found to be a suitable site to build a boat ramp. Ownership was determined and after several meetings with John Horlbeck and George Cornish an agreement was reached to purchase the property for $1,500. The Board announced the purchase in November 1957 and the ground breaking began soon after by eight volunteers with an emphasis placed on completing the boat ramp first. The club received the deed to the property form George Cornish, January of 1958 and the ramp was completed later that year.
The Board proposed an Island Development Fund, which was accepted by the membership, to raise the capital needed to complete their vision. A gate was installed in May of 1959, keys were issued and strict rules for island access were established. Work on our new clubhouse began in June 1959 and took approximately 11/2 years to complete. The Board hired Henry White to finish the concrete slab for $150 & J. Basha Jr. laid all the concrete block for $.10 per block, otherwise the membership provided all of the manual labor, design assistance, sweat, curses & laughs required to construct the building. A cistern was built to capture rain water for use in our bathroom. Our first regular meeting in the new clubhouse occurred on February 20th, 1961. Later that year Commodore Burt Moore placed an order with Gensco for the first Gold Bug decals identifying our colors to be maroon & gold. A House Committee was established for the purpose of attending to the club, future club development & to draw up a set of House Rules. The committee consisted of four members who would elect a Chairman that would serve on the Executive Board.
The Ladies Auxiliary was formed & held its first regular meeting on 10/8/62 that was attended by nineteen ladies known as “The Lady Bugs”, who elected officers. It was noted that everyone was home in time to see Ben Casey. The ladies conduct several fundraisers each year, with their spaghetti dinner being the largest, to raise money for local charities & club support when needed.
On September 21, 1989 hurricane Hugo stormed ashore causing massive damage & destruction. The dock along with the attached floating docks were destroyed & the clubhouse sustained major damage, all totaling approximately $70,000. Thanks to a lot of sacrifices, hard work & long hours our membership put the building back together.
Gold Bug Island was placed into a conservation easement in 1997, with the Low Country Open Land Trust, to protect the island uniqueness, our natural resources & preserve it from future development.
The East Cooper Outboard Beneficent Group, Inc. was established in September of 1997 for charitable purposes including making donations to organization who qualify as exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code & to fund two scholarships, for needy students, at the College of Charleston. To date we have given over $150,000 to local charities & scholarships.
The ECOMC continues to serve boat owners, promote safe boating operations, conserve our natural resources, own & operate a boat landing along with the surrounding facilities. Our membership participates in several fundraisers during the year that fund our scholarships and various contributions to local charitable organizations. We are a strictly benevolent, non-political or sectarian social organization. I’m proud to say that the vision a group of young men had in 1956 is a reality today.