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Philadelphia's Iconic Boathouse Row: Then and Now

The historic row of boathouses is about to shine brighter



The iconic Boathouse Row along the Schuylkill River is about to get a makeover to make it a little more brighter just in time for the Democratic National Convention this July.

Yesterday officials announced that the row of 19th-century boathouses will have their lights replaced with LED bulbs, allowing the buildings to shine about 75 percent brighter than usual.

The last time they had their lights replaced was in 2005, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports.

Before Boathouse Row unveils its new look this summer, we thought it'd be fitting during Renovation Week to take a trip down memory lane and see how the popular spot has changed over the years.

Before the Lemon Hill Estate became part of the Fairmount Park system in 1855, the leaseholder had allowed rowers to build what's been described as "ramshackle" boathouses along the Schuylkill River. These were later condemned by the City of Philadelphia, and later replaced in the 1870s by more sturdy stone boathouses built in various styles, from Victorian Gothic to Mediterranean to Colonial Revival.

The Sedgeley Club is located at #15 Boathouse Row and built in 1902. It was designed by local architect Arthur H. Brockie in the Colonial Revival style and incorporated the lighthouse, which was built in 1887 to help manage traffic along the river.

From left to right, the Undine Barge Club, Penn AC Rowing Association, and the College Boat Club. The Undine Barge Club's claim to fame is that it was designed by architect Frank Furness. The Penn AC Rowing Association's Victorian Gothic boathouse was designed by the Wilson Brothers, the same architecture firm behind the Reading Terminal. The College Boat Club is the only all-collegiate club along the row.

Today, there are a total of 12 boathouses along the row, which was deemed a National Historic Landmark in 1987.

Boathouse Row

Kelly Dr, Philadelphia, PA 19130 (215) 236-2011 Visit Website