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Explore Belle Isle's Crumbling 113-Year-Old Boathouse

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Postcard from 1913. The building is no longer surrounded by water. [Postcard: Burton Collection. Interior Photography: Chris and Michelle Gerard]

Founded in 1839, the Detroit Boat Club developed an unfortunate habit of losing its buildings to grand fires. After the fourth boat house was incinerated in 1901, members decided they needed something a bit less combustable. Dedicated in 1902, the building seen on Belle Isle today is said to be the first in America constructed entirely out of reinforced concrete.
Today, the Detroit Boat Club Crew still trains there, filling the grandiose ballrooms with workout equipment. The building's location on the water regularly attracts proposals for conversion to a hotel or restaurant, but none have gone anywhere. While the original interior is still very much intact, the structure is said to need millions in long-term repair.

· Detroit Boat Club [Official]
· Detroit Boat Club Crew [Official]


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