BOAT CLUBS of 1890

Wayne County Michigan



Detroit, MI (Detroit Boat Club, Belle Isle) (1901) - Contributed by Paul Petosky


The boat clubs of Detroit are a marked feature in the sporting life of the city. There are few finer sights in a summer evening than the boating parties; the boats are often manned in part by ladies, and the gay uniforms and bright flags, the measured dip of the oars, and merry laughter, make a pleasing combination of sight and sound.

The oldest boat club is the Detroit. It was organized February 18, 1839. and re-organized August 23, 1856. It owns one of the finest boathouses in the country, erected in 1873, at a cost of $5,000. It was originally located between Hastings and Rivard Streets, and was moved to its present location, between Joseph Campau and McDougall Avenues, in 1877.

The Excelsior Boat Club was organized on May 14, 1867 and incorporated June 14, 1871. Amended articles were filed January 8, 1878. The clubhouse, at the foot of Joseph Campau Avenue, was erected in May, 1867, and has since been improved; with the boats and other property of the club, it is valued at $5,000.

The Zephyr Boat Club was organized in June, 1867, incorporated May 13, 1875. and disbanded in 1881.

The Centennial Boat Club was organized September 14, 1875, and incorporated March 2, 1876. Its boat-house, between Chene Street and Joseph Campau Avenue, cost $550, and was dedicated June 30, 1877.

Other boat-clubs have been organized from time to time, but most of them may be said to be lying on their oars. For the purpose of general practice and the management of regattas and races, several of the clubs were united under the title of the Detroit River Navy. It was organized in August 1867, and re-organized in June, 1868, and again on June 8. 1874.

Among the occasions of special interest to boatclubs were: The annual regatta of the Northwestern Amateur Boating Association, July 14, 1870; the opening day of the Northwestern Regatta, on August 14, 1877; and the arrival of the Sho3-wae-eac-mette Boat Club, of Monroe, on August 3, 1878, on their return from England; August 6, 1878, was the opening day of Detroit River Navy Regatta, and August 7 of the same year the opening day of Northwestern Regatta.

On June 28, 1879. the Detroit River Navy Regatta took place. The Wyandotts won a two-oared race, the Allchigans won the four-oared, and the barge race was won by the Detroit Club. The National Rowing Regatta for 1882 was held at Detroit, beginning on August 8.

Silas Farmer History of Detroit 1890