In 1984 the original WRC “boathouse” was the Christina Auto Body Shop next to the Market Street Bridge in downtown Wilmington. Tubman-Garrett Park now occupies that site. The next boathouse, at 330 South Madison Street, was our home from 1986 to July 2006, thanks to a lease with the City negotiated in 1986 under the guidance of William Turner, former Director of Public Works for the City of Wilmington and husband of club stalwart Lydia Turner.
The South Madison Street boathouse was originally constructed with two bays; a third was added in 1994–95. Rowing took place out of the facility until 1999, when we moved temporarily upriver to the Sardo Warehouse (where Iron Hill Brewery now stands) during the yearlong Riverwalk construction. We then moved back to the South Madison Street site in the spring of 2000 and constructed a new ramp and dock. That boathouse was named after Thomas E. Colgan, a founding member of WRC who died in 2003.
In July 2006 the club was forced to move once again, due to the City’s sale of the South Madison Street site to residential developers. With the assistance of the Riverfront Development Corporation and the City, WRC secured a rental property at the Shipyard Shops, where club members renovated a 10,000-square-foot area to include boat racks, shower and changing rooms, storage area, and a new ramp and launch dock. While utilizing the Shipyard Shops location, under lease, we made a decision to acquire a self -owned facility after being faced with the prospect of a bridge construction project adjacent to the Shipyard Shops.
We purchased our new site in Southbridge in late 2012, where we renovated and constructed an addition to the building and remediated the river front. During construction, we remained at the Shipyard Shops location until we permanently relocated all operations to our new site in mid 2013.
We now have a state-of-the-art, six bay boathouse, which we own (with a mortgage) that allows us to accommodate 200+ Masters rowers and coxswains along with hosting three scholastic programs.