The White River Yacht Club traces its roots to March 16, 1938 when a small group of area boaters filed articles of incorporation with the Indiana Secretary of State to create the North White River Club.
After an intermediate name change to White River Boaters Associates, the Club in 1947 adopted the permanent name of White River Yacht Club.
The Club held its first meetings in members' homes and docked boats at the Old Green City Boathouse near Broad Ripple Park, or at docks of members living along the river. From these small beginnings, the Club has progressed to its present condition through years of struggle and hard work by members.
On Easter Sunday of 1947, Smith Island, the present ten acre home of WRYC, became its permanent site. Members began immediately to restore the summer home located on the grounds, doing the work themselves, and financing the first mortgages, all fully retired in 1952. That year also saw the addition of the large boat-launching hoist just north of the clubhouse, erected by club members, and in 1957 the metal launching ramp south of the clubhouse was added. Cost for these projects were borne by members and additional income from boat-launching fees.