Keeping the St. Louis Rowing Tradition Alive Since 1875!
The St. Louis Rowing Club was founded in June 1875. It was organized by eight men, and in its early years, the club grew to 165 members. They rowed boats, also called shells, on the Mississippi River. Their first shell was named the “St. Louis” and was built for the club by one of the first eight organizers, John A. Schultze.
In the early 1900s, the club held some of its regattas at Creve Coeur Lake, and in 1904, the Olympic rowing races were held on Creve Coeur Lake. But SLRC generally continued its active rowing during these years on the Mississippi River, all the way through the 1950s.
Following some less-active years in the 1960s and 1970s – though the club never ceased operations or meetings from its inception in 1875 – the St. Louis Rowing Club re-formed in the early 1980s, and in 1983, decided to make Creve Coeur Lake its new home for training. The St. Louis County government was a strong supporter of this move, feeling that rowing would help enhance Creve Coeur Lake. A “Rowathon” was held on the lake on September 28, 1984, to raise money for the club, including toward the boathouse at Creve Coeur Lake and for new shells. One of the SLRC boats was used in the 1984 Olympics. In 1987, Washington University held a regatta on Creve Coeur Lake, including other midwestern college rowing teams.
In 1990, SLRC dedicated two rowing shells to high school rowing programs at eight St. Louis schools to attract young rowers from St. Louis high schools. The high school component of SLRC took off, and the program for high school boys and girls now numbers student-athletes from more than 25 high schools.
Now, SLRC boasts a Juniors rowing program of more than 125 young people, an adult Masters program of more than 100 women and men, a full-time head coach and multiple assistant coaches, two Juniors national championship teams in 2013 and 2016, and multiple Masters national championship teams in recent years.
“The first American Olympic rowing team to represent the USA in the Western Hemisphere paddled to the gold medal at Creve Coeur Lake in Maryland Heights during the Summer Games in 1904. And ever since those games, the St. Louis Rowing Club has kept the tradition alive on Creve Coeur Lake. With a wide range of skills, master to beginner, the ancient sport of rowing has been a constant in St. Louis since 1904”
– Pat McGonigle, KSDK Channel 5, August 9, 2016