Lawrence Canoe Club (Lawrence, MA)

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In April 1885 a group of young men started the Lawrence Canoe Club with the objective being “…to encourage canoeing, to promote physical culture, and foster a unity of feeling among those interested in canoeing, rowing, bowling and tennis”.  The group immediately set to renting a boathouse from Thomas S. Holmes.  This boathouse was remodeled and repaired.  A large piazza was erected on the front of the building facing the river.  The second floor was a clubroom and parlor while the first floor was for the storage of boats and canoes owned by the club and its members.  Later, when a movement developed to establish boating at Phillips Academy and other places, two large racing shells were procured from Yale for the use of the academy.  This added use of the boathouse required an extension on the building in order to accommodate the academy crews.  1889 experienced a boom in membership including residents from Lawrence, Methuen, and Andover.  The club decided to limit the membership to 250 men and ran with a large waiting list of 50 or so individuals.  In 1899 the Lawrence Canoe Club was admitted to the New England Amateur Rowing Association.  The club was distinguished by a number of championships during these years, but the fire of April 11, 1904 destroyed all the banners and trophies.  The club eventually owned the site and rebuilt, but was later torn down.

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