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Boathouse Club collection

Boathouse Club collection

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Finding aid for the Boathouse Club collection


Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
100 Rock Street
Little Rock, Arkansas, 72201
(501) 320-5700

September 1, 2006

Repository: Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
Creator:Worthen, Mary Sandlin Fletcher, 1917-2015
Title: Boathouse Club collection
Dates: 1905-2014
Quantity: 1.3 Linear feet
Abstract:This collection contains material about the original Little Rock Athletic Association and its Boathouse, established in 1882, as well as material about the new Arkansas Boathouse Club, organized in 2005.
Identification: BC.MSS.01.09
Language: English
Permanent URL:


The collection is arranged topically and chronologically.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains material about the original Little Rock Athletic Association and its Boathouse, established in 1882, as well as material about the new Arkansas Boathouse Club, organized in 2005. Series I contains historical documents, photographs, and a few memorabilia from the Little Rock Boathouse, which officially ceased operations in 1945. Recollections of several former members are included among the research materials compiled by Mary Worthen. While most organizational records survive were destroyed by fire, the collection contains a copy of the original Articles of Association. Series II contains documents and public relations material relating to the re-established Arkansas Boathouse Club.

Historical Information

The Little Rock Athletic Association was formed in February 1882, by a group of young men for the purpose of recreation and socialization. Their first meetings were held at Bernays and Maxwell Store on the ground floor of the Capital Hotel. The organization soon leased a lot on the south side of the Arkansas River, near Main Street. Architects Harding and Bailey were chosen to design a building, which was completed later that year. This building was referred to as "The Boathouse," and the Little Rock Athletic Association was informally known as the "Boathouse Club." The club purchased several light-weight boats, which were used for boat races and for pleasure boating. Other activities included bowling, roller skating, and dances. Later, football and softball were added.

The first Boathouse was destroyed by fire in 1887, when a fire broke out at the Union Cotton Compress, just west of the building. The club members contracted for a new and larger building, and chose B. J. Bartlett to design it. This building was completed in October 1889. The Athletic Association's new home was much larger than the first one. It had a bowling alley and indoor plumbing, including showers. Later, a swimming pool was added. The second Boathouse burned on April 13, 1938. By this time the club's membership had declined, and the building was not rebuilt. Four members, John F. Geister, Joe House, Jim Porter, and David Terry Sr, remained until 1945, when they allowed the lease on the property to expire.

In 2005, Joel Taylor, Lynette Watts and other interested individuals organized the Arkansas Boathouse Club, to re-establish rowing in the Central Arkansas area. The organization maintains its headquarters in a former city of North Little Rock maintenance building at the foot of the I-30 Bridge, with a boatyard nearby. In addition, the club maintains a dock at Jolly Roger's Marina on Lake Maumelle.

Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Arkansas Boathouse Club.
Little Rock (Ark.)
Little Rock Athletic Association. (Ark.)
Little Rock Boathouse
North Little Rock (Ark.)
Rowing clubs
Sports -- Arkansas
Watts, Lynette


Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted Access.

Restrictions on Use

Non-circulating; In-house use only.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Boathouse Club Collection, MSS.01.09, Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Arkansas Studies Institute

Acquisition Information

Donated by Mary Worthen, 2001, and Lynette Watts, 2009

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