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From Martha Mitchell’s Encyclopedia Brunoniana:

Boat House

The Boat House which first served the college crews suffered in a great gale in 1869 which carried away the wharf and float, after which the boat house was removed to a more convenient location on the east side of the Seekonk River. In December 1870 several gentlemen of Providence purchased the Providence Skating Rink and donated the building to the University Boat Club. In the spring the lumber from the rink was conveyed to the river and used to build a new boat house with an upper room for the use of the crew. The Annual Illustrated Catalogue and Oarsman’s Manual for 1871 described a boat house connected with the Brown University Boat Club as “located on the Seekonk River, at the foot of Angel (sic) Street. It is about being replaced by a new house, two stories high, 60 x 80 feet, to cost $3,000. Present invested value of boat-house, lands, etc., $500.”

On the evening of November 8, 1874 a disaster occurred. The Brunonian reported that the “best college boat-house in the country with all its contents was destroyed,” leaving the only property not destroyed one set of oars which the ’75 Boat Club had lent to the Pawtucket Boat Club. The next day the Narragansett Club offered the use of its boat house. In the spring a rough boat house was erected for $250 and shared space with Messrs. Dine and Company, builders of the club’s new boat. Henry Lippitt 1878 was in charge of collecting money for a new boat house, which was built during the summer of 1875 by Peabody and Wilbur. The new boat house was forty by sixty feet with accommodations for sixteen shells and a second story, part of which was occupied as a workshop by boatbuilders E. Bowler and Company. Interest in boating lapsed in the 1880s and it was many years before a boat house was needed again.

In 1937 a contribution of $10,000 by the Class of 1907 at its 30th reunion made possible the acquisition of the Narragansett Boat Club boat house on the Seekonk River. The boat house, 95 feet long and 36 feet wide, was renovated under the direction of architects Jackson, Robertson and Adams of Providence. reshingled and painted gray with bright blue trim. The boat house was dedicated on May 7, 1938 at an Intercollegiate Dinghy Racing Association Regatta sponsored by the Brown Yacht Club. Marston Boat House was acquired in 1967, and the old boat house was condemned as unsafe in 1973. It was destroyed on July 29, 1974, in a fire allegedly set by a twelve-year old boy.

The above entry appears in Encyclopedia Brunoniana by Martha Mitchell, copyright 1993 by the Brown University Library. It is used here by permission of the author and the University and may not be copied or further distributed without permission.

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