Vacationers began coming to Camden in the 1880s, lured by the grand old sea captains’ homes, pretty harbor, island views, and the Camden Hills. Within a few years wealthy, prominent families from Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. were building substantial shingle-style summer homes along the Camden shore. Their presence created new leisure time activities in the small coastal town. In 1898 the Megunticook Golf Club was founded, and in 1906 Dr. George Phelps founded the Camden Yacht Club.
When it was first organized the Yacht Club had two types of members—those with yachts and those without. Those with were in the minority, but within that small group were the owners of some of the grandest yachts in the country. One of those yachtsmen was Cyrus H.K. Curtis, publisher of the Ladies Home Journal and Saturday Evening Post, who became Commodore in 1909. He hired the noted Portland architect John Calvin Stevens to design a shingle style clubhouse with large porches on the old lime kiln property he had purchased on Bayview Street. When the clubhouse was completed, the Camden Yacht Club moved from its leased wharf and building on the west side of the harbor. In 1926 Curtis deeded the clubhouse and land to the Town of Camden. The building is still the Camden Yacht Club.