July 13, 1887: First Duluth Boat Club facility opens

On this day in 1878, the Duluth Boat Club—organized just over a year earlier—opened its first facility at Slip #1 in the harbor, located between Sixth and Seventh Avenues West (roughly where the stage of Bayfront Festival Park stands today). The Duluth Daily News raved that the Club’s first reception was the “social event of the season.” The facility was designed by one of the Boat Club’s twenty-eight founding members, Charles M. McMillen, who also designed the J. D. Ensign House and the Temple Opera Block. Because of its location, the Boat Club proved inconvenient to both club members and shipping traffic. In 1904 the Boat Club moved into a new facility designed by J. J. Wangenstein south of the canal: the Aerial Transfer Bridge was then under construction, and it would provide easy access to the new site. The Boat Club would also operate a facility on Spirit Lake, opened in 1907, and at Oatka bayside along Minnesota Point in the former Duluth Yacht Club facility (the organizations merged in 1909). Read more about the Duluth Boat Club here.

A sketch of the first Duluth Boat Club, designed by Charles M. McMillen. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

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