Detroit Boat Club

E. A. Brush, Alpheus S. Williams, S.H. Sibley, J.H. Farnsworth, James A. Armstrong, and John Chester, some of Detroit, Michigan’s influential figures, founded the Detroit Boat Club (DBC) 185 years ago. It is America’s oldest active social boating organization. The first of five clubhouses was a small one room shack with three slips to dock their boats. Initially the club was a rowing club, later adding sail and power boats to its fleet throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Between 1839 and 1890, the club had three different clubhouses in three different spots on the Detroit River. In 1890, the DBC arranged for a lease on Belle Isle, an island at the mouth of the Detroit River, to have their fourth clubhouse built. In 1893, a fire swallowed the clubhouse and in 1902, the club’s final clubhouse was rebuilt on Belle Isle where it remains today.

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