Vesper Boat Club
|Vesper Boat Club|
|Location||#10 Boathouse Row, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.|
|Home water||Schuylkill River|
|Navy admission||1870 (reinstated 1879)|
|Former names||Washington Barge Club|
|Colors||Crimson and Battleship|
|Affiliations||Friends Select, Sacred Heart, Academy of Notre Dame and Germantown Friends School|
Undine Barge Club
|Part of||Vesper Boat Club (#87000821)|
|Added to NRHP||February 27, 1987|
The Vesper Boat Club is an amateur rowing club located at #10 Boathouse Row in the historic Boathouse Row of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1865 as the Washington Barge Club, the Club changed its name to Vesper Boat Club in 1870. Vesper's stated goal is "to produce Olympic champions." Most recently, that goal was achieved by Devery Karz and Kathleen Bertko in the 2016 Summer Olympics
The Vesper Boat Club had its beginning on Feb. 22, 1865– a decade into the flourishing of rowing clubs on Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River– with the founding of the Washington Barge Club. Five years later, on Jan 1, 1870, it changed its name to Vesper Boat Club and quickly became one of the most celebrated rowing clubs in the United States and the world.
Vesper’s eight-oared shell took the gold medal in Paris at the 1900 Summer Olympics. The Vesper eight repeated its victory at the 1904 games in St. Louis. And at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Vesper's eight won again, making it the only rowing club in the United States to win the title three times.
Perhaps the best-known names associated with the Vesper Club are John B. Kelly Sr., an Irish brickworks owner who became influential in city politics and his son, John B. Kelly Jr., a city councilman and brother to Princess Grace of Monaco.
Kelly Sr. won Olympic Gold in the single scull in 1920. He also won gold medals in the double scull in 1920 and in 1924, both times with his cousin Paul Costello. As a laborer Kelly was barred from entering the Diamond Sculls at the Royal Henley Regatta. It was two decades later that John B. Kelly Jr. would win that event, in 1947 and 1949. Kelly Jr. won the national singles championship eight times. At the time of his death in 1985, he. was president of the United States Olympic Committee.
Under the coaching of such greats as Jim Manning, Dr. Charles W. Riggall, Allan Rosenberg and Dietrich Rose, many other Vesper members have gone on to cumulatively win more national and international races than any club in the United States.
The present clubhouse was constructed in combination with neighboring Malta, with the Vesper cornerstone dated 1865. The first building was completed in1865, and the second boat bay addition in 1898. The last addition was completed in the early 1960s. The boathouse was designed by noted Philadelphia architect G.H. Hewitt. The architecture – semi -attached ornamental Victorian Gothic is typical of that period and members who were tradesmen constructed the original building with local building materials.
After a century of accomplishments for the men, Vesper in 1970 became the first men’s club to organize a women’s rowing team. (Philadelphia Girls Rowing Club in 1968 pioneered women’s rowing in the United States.) Vesper women have consistently won national championships and have regularly represented the United States in international competition. At the Montreal Olympics in 1976, six Vesper members were on the USA Olympic Rowing Team.
In 1873, Vesper, in conjunction with Malta Boat Club, built a 1 1⁄2-story boat house. In 1898, a second floor and addition were added to Vesper, and other renovations have recently been completed. Howard Egar designed the 1898 alterations and additions to the Vesper Boat Club.
- Harry Parker - 1960 US Olympic Team and US Olympic Coach 1964–1984
- Allen Rosenberg - rower and US Olympic rowing coach
- Kenneth Dreyfuss - 1972 US Olympic Team
- C. Hugh Stevenson – 1972 US Olympic Team
- James E. Moroney III - 1972 & 1976 US Olympic Teams
- Michiel Bartman - 2009 and 2007 US National Team Coaching Staff
- Dan Scholz - 2009 US National Team member (Lightweight Men's Quadruple Sculls)
- Julie Nichols - 2008 US Olympic Team member (Alternate)
- Josh Inman - 2008 US Olympic Team and 2007 US National Team member (Stroke in Men’s Eight)
- Libby (Elizabeth) Peters - 2008 US National Team member (Women’s Lightweight Quadruple Sculls)
- Wendy Tripician - 2007 US National Team member (Women’s Lightweight Double Sculls)
- Jana Heere - 2007 US National Team member (Women’s Lightweight Double Sculls)
- Hannah Moore - 2007 US National Team member (Women’s Lightweight Quadruple Sculls)
- Carey Brezler - 2007 US National Team member (Women’s Lightweight Quadruple Sculls)
- Mary Jones - 2015 US National Team member (Pan Am Games Women’s Lightweight Single Sculls Gold Medalist)
- Louis Abell- gold medalist 1900 and 1904
- John Exley - gold medalist 1900 and 1904
- Edward Marsh - gold medalist 1900
- Harry Lott - 1904 gold medalist
- Stanley Cwiklinski - 1964 Eights gold medalist
- Hugh Foley - 1964 Eights gold medalist
- Gene Clapp - 1972 Men's eights silver medalist
- John B. Kelly Jr. - Bronze medal 1956. Also competed in 1948, 1952, and 1960.
- Bill Maher - 1968 Men's Double Sculls bronze medal. Rowed for VBC in 1969.
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- Harry Parker, sports-reference.com
- Kenneth Dreyfuss, sports-reference.com
- Hugh Stevenson, sports-reference.com
- James Moroney, sports-reference.com
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- Cite error: The named reference
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- Stan Cwiklinski sports-reference.com
- Hugh Foley sports-reference.com
- Gene Clapp sports-reference.com
- Jack Kelly, Jr. sports-reference.com
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- Keyser, K. C. (1872). "Vesper Boat Club". Fairmount Park: Sketches of its Scenery, Waters, and History (5th ed.). Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen, and Haffelfinger. p. 136.
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- Stillner, Anna (2005). The Philadelphia Girls’ Rowing Club: An Incremental Historic Structure Report (Thesis). p. 104. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
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