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Schuylkill Navy (Pennsylvania USA) Clubs

Last modified: 2005-03-12 by rick wyatt
Keywords: schuylkill navy | pennsylvania |
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The Schuylkill Navy is a group of 10 rowing clubs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It takes its name from the Schuylkill River, along which the clubs' elegant Victorian boathouses are located. Founded in 1858, the Schuylkill Navy is the oldest governing body for amateur sporting clubs in the United States. More information can be found at http://www.boathouserow.org. Philadelphia is one of the main centers of sport rowing in the United States, and several of the clubs are among the premier rowing clubs in the world. Several of them are also important institutions in the traditional social life of the old Philadelphia gentry.

The flags are from two old printed charts I found on-line, "Flags of the Schuylkill Navy" (1870) and "Signal Flags of the Schuylkill Navy" (after 1872).

See also:


Bachelors Barge Club

[Bachelors Barge Club] by Joe McMillan

Founded 1853. The 1870 chart shows essentially a narrow-armed St. Andrew's saltire (white on blue). The other chart shows no flag for this club. I have not been able to confirm the modern use of this flag; the club badge is red, yellow, and blue, with what appears to be a thistle.
Joe McMillan
, 31 December 2002

University Barge Club

[University Barge Club] by Joe McMillan

Founded 1854. A blue-white-blue vertical triband. This flag appears on both charts and flying over the clubhouse in a drawing at http://www.hosr.org/ubc/.
Joe McMillan
, 31 December 2002

Undine Barge Club

[Undine Barge Club] by Joe McMillan

[Undine Barge Club] by Joe McMillan

Founded 1856. The earlier chart shows a blue flag with a red border and the word UNDINE in gold letters. The other shows a blue flag with a gold chevron, point at the hoist. I believe the second is the current flag; it matches the design on the oar blades used by the club. A stained glass window in the club house shows the chevron flag crossed in saltire with a variant on the word flag, but without the border and with the name spelled VNDINE. See http://www.undine.com/history.html.
Joe McMillan
, 31 December 2002

Quaker City Barge Club

[Quaker City Barge Club] by Joe McMillan

Founded 1858. White flag with a blue border and a blue three-leaf clover on the center. This club merged with the Fairmount Rowing Association in 1932. I don't have a flag for the modern club, although it continues to use the blue and white color of Quaker City.
Joe McMillan
, 31 December 2002

Malta Boat Club

[Malta Boat Club] by Joe McMillan

[Malta Boat Club] by Joe McMillan

Founded 1860. The 1870 chart shows the flag black with a gold cross paty (with straight-edged arms) inscribed in black MBC. The other has a blue flag with a white cross paty with curved arms, edged in black and inscribed in black letters MBC. I have not been able to confirm the modern flag, but the club colors are blue and black.
Joe McMillan
, 31 December 2002

Pennsylvania Barge Club

[Pennsylvania Barge Club] by Joe McMillan

Founded 1861. Both charts show a red flag with a white star inscribed PBC in blue. This club no longer exists as a Philadelphia rowing club, but apparently was the basis on which the U.S. Rowing Society was formed.
Joe McMillan
, 31 December 2002

Vesper Boat Club

[Vesper Boat Club] by Joe McMillan

Founded 1865 as the Washington Boat Club, renamed in 1870. The later chart shows a blue flag with a white star inscribed VBC in red. The earlier shows no flag for Vesper or its predecessor. I have not been able to confirm the modern flag. The club colors are cherry red and white. (For admirers of the late Princess Grace of Monaco, Vesper was the club for which her father and brother both competed at world-class level.)
Joe McMillan
, 31 December 2002

Crescent Boat Club

[Crescent Boat Club] by Joe McMillan

[Vesper Boat Club] by Joe McMillan

Founded 1867. Both charts show a white flag bordered in blue with a crescent on the center, the earlier in red, the later in yellow. Current use not confirmed.
Joe McMillan
, 31 December 2002

Philadelphia Boat Club

[Philadelphia Boat Club] by Joe McMillan

Founded pre-1870. Club no longer exists, having been absorbed into the University Barge Club in the 1930s. The flag shown on both charts is white with a red chevron, point at the center of the fly. This flag is shown in the drawing mentioned above of the University Barge Club boathouse, flying at the opposite end of the house from the blue and white University club flag.
Joe McMillan
, 31 December 2002

College Boat Club

[College Boat Club] by Joe McMillan

Founded 1872. Membership limited to former varsity rowers for the University of Pennsylvania. Flag shown on the later chart is horizontally divided blue-white-blue, with a gold step-pyramid surrounded by a gold laurel wreath overall. I have not been able to confirm the current use of this flag.
Joe McMillan
, 31 December 2002

West Philadelphia Boat Club

[West Philadelphia Boat Club] by Joe McMillan

Founded 1871. Renamed Penn Athletic Club in 1924. White swallowtail with blue edging on top, bottom, and fly, and the club initials and founding date in black letters. Penn Athletic Club presumably does not use this flag any longer.
Joe McMillan
, 31 December 2002

There are two other clubs currently in the Schuylkill Navy, but I have not found flags for them: the Fairmount Rowing Association (mentioned above, founded 1880 as successor to several earlier clubs) and the Philadelphia Girls Rowing Club (founded 1938).
Joe McMillan
, 31 December 2002