Potomac Boat Club was established in 1869. Their boat house stood at the foot of Congress Street – what is now 31st Street – in Georgetown. They rebuilt two times at that location, the last time in 1875. In 1908 the club sold this location and moved upstream to build the current PBC boat house at 3530 Water Street, NW.
The building’s hallmark is its Craftsman style, which was typical of buildings of its purpose and vintage. The lower floor has bays for storing boats. The second floor has a memorable wood-floored ballroom which, for over more than a century, has been the scene of many festive social events including dances, feasts, weddings, and celebrations. The second floor also has a men’s and women’s locker room. The porch, stretching the length of the house, is the iconic face of the boat house. The porch provides an excellent vantage point to view rowing races and the river scene. The third floor has a balcony overlooking the ballroom, suitable for a band, and a comfortable lounge for members to host meetings and gather socially.
The boat house was designed by A. B. Mullet & Sons, architects for the United States Treasury and the Old Executive Office Building. It is one of two remaining early 20th century boat clubs along the Potomac River. Along with the Washington Canoe Club (founded 1904), the Potomac Boat Club still promotes recreational and social pursuits that have been an important part of Washington life for over a century.