Chet’s Yachts, and "Cracker Box Manor"

Chet Warrington’s return to Chicago meant that he was into yachts. Here are the yachts he owned.

Especially with the Buena, the modest size of these yachts (especially looking at what we have today) is striking. But it also represents a willingness to live below one’s means. Chet had a lifelong aversion to debt, an aversion doubtless reinforced by the Great Depression of the 1930’s (which Chet got through in style.) Since the 1980’s the pressure to borrow and live large has been relentless, and Chet’s way of life has largely gone out of fashion, something that has expensive consequences for the country now and moving forward.

Chet’s also flying the three flags that adorned family yachts from start to finish. On the bow is the Chicago Yacht Club burgee (the exception for the Lincoln Park burgee noted.) On the mast is the Warrington family burgee, a simple red burgee with a white “W” in the centre. At the stern is the Yacht Ensign, basically the American flag with the “Betsy Ross” thirteen stars in a circle and an anchor in the centre. Technically the use of the Yacht Ensign was ended in 1980, but it is still permitted by custom and regulation. Technically it isn’t supposed to be flown in foreign waters, but we did it anyway.

Cracker Box Manor

In his last years in Chicago, Chet purchased a summer home on the other side of the lake, in Spring Lake, Michigan. My mother always said that Chicago had two seasons: winter and August, and for the latter a trip across the lake to the Michigan side was a welcome relief. Because of its size and shape, my grandmother Myrtle dubbed the place “Cracker Box Manor.”

Sometimes the getaway was for his heath: the August 1953 Rotary Gyrator (the newsletter of the Rotary Club of Chicago) noted that one of his fellow Rotarians:

…found him making very satisfactory progress in his recovery from two attacks of pneumonia. Chet’s idyllic lakeside home is fittingly named “Cracker Box Manor” and Chet, who is in the Pile Driving Equipment Mfg. business, has built a pier large enough to accomodate an ocean liner.

It was also a good place to receive friends from Chet’s long career in aeronautics (such as Earl Steinhauer) who were all too familiar with Chet’s “Bologna Club.”