One of St. John's most venerable institutions is celebrating a significant milestone.
The Crow's Nest Officer's Club is turning 75, and members are celebrating alongside the Royal Canadian Navy this weekend with a series of activities commemorating the national historic site.
Past-president Margaret Morris says there's been public lectures at the Rooms, dinners held alongside the Naval Association of Canada, and even a special keg of beer brewed for the ceremonies.
Since being founded in 1942 by navy Capt. E.R. Mainguy, the private-member's club has outlasted a world war, survived Confederation, successfully integrated female and civilian members, and entered a new millennium.
"Seventy-five years ago, this club would have been chock-a-block full with young officers fighting the battle of the Atlantic," said Morris.
All these years later, the enduring mystery of the Crow's Nest remains.
Sense of history
Visitors to the club must climb three flights of stairs, and walk up a total of 59 steps, to enter the fourth-floor loft located between Water Street and Duckworth Street.
Inside, little has changed from the club's World War II heyday, and that's by design.
Members who join the club must promise to preserve the space's heritage.
"One of the goals is to keep the room as close as possible to its wartime look," said Morris.
"Of all the wartime installations that peppered St. John`s and Newfoundland, it's only the Crow's Nest that remains true to [this]," said Morris.
The club was strictly for seagoing officers during the war years, added Morris, but in the decades following World War II, gradually opened to women and then eventually regular people.
"Opening up to the civilians has been terrific," she said.
"We've gotten lots of people who've never worn a military uniform but are passionate about the history."
Visiting the club was quite the big deal for Royal Canadian Navy Cmdr. Steven Archer and Lt.-Cmdr. Amber Comisso, who travelled from Halifax for the anniversary.
They'd long been hearing about rowdy nights in the Nest, and were thrilled to finally visit Saturday.
"As a naval officer, you always hear about the Crow's Nest in St. John's," said Comisso.
"It's almost a bit of an urban legend. When an opportunity popped up to come back for the 75th anniversary I couldn't have been more excited."
Cmdr. Archer agreed. He was visibly shaken by being surrounded by the memorabilia and history
"I have a sense of awe with the history here. All the ships that served during World War II," he said.
Cmdr. Archer has travelled all over the world with the navy, but he still said he's never come across a mess quite like the Crow's Nest.
"Something like this, I will actually say, I've never seen. There is nothing like this little piece of national treasure located here in the harbour in St. John's."