Penn Library Department of Special Collections

William Penn

Keffer Collection of Sheet Music,
ca. 1790-1895

Content and design by John Bewley

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Philadelphia in Images: Boaters on the Schuylkill River

Lithograph by Sinclair Lithr. on title page of: Schuylkill Boat Song / poetry by Thomas Dunn Engliah ; music composed and dedicated to the Atalanta Barge Club by F. Blanchor.
Philadelphia: Osbourn's Music Salon, between 1835 and 1842.
Box 27, no. 11.

The Schuylkill River is one of the principal geographical features of the Philadelphia landscape and boaters have long taken advantage of its presence. The erection of the Fairmount Water Works and Fairmount Dam on the Schuylkill River altered the flow of the river so that it became in effect a long, freshwater lake, ideal for rowing. The first rowing clubs, the Blue Devil and the Imp Barge Clubs, were formed around 1833 and the first competetive regatta was held in 1835. On October 5, 1858 a group of the rowing clubs began the Schuylkill Navy.

The Atalanta Barge Club referred to in this illustration by Sinclair's Lithography is either a club in Philadelphia that had only a brief existence, or possibly a club of that name from New York that was reported to have been involved in a race on the Schuylkill with rowers from the University of Pennsylvania in 1801. Boathouse Row, on the East bank of the river, is one of the city's landmarks.


Philadelphia in Images

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