Established in 1839, the Detroit Boat Club is one of the oldest surviving rowing clubs in the US. From a small building on Hastings Street, the club started holding races on the Detroit River, until the clubhouse burned down in 1848. After moving several times, a new building was constructed on Belle Isle 1891, but also burned down just two years later. The next clubhouse survived until 1901, when it too burned down.
Sensing a trend, the current building was constructed in 1902 out of fireproof materials. It hosted numerous social events and competitions over the years until the Detroit Boat Club moved out in 1996. The boat club still maintains the building and holds regular events there, though over the years the building has begun to fall into disrepair.
Still, the building retains much of its original grandeur, and is an iconic part of Belle Isle. The City of Detroit owns the boat club now, and is looking for ways to preserve it.