- About -

Our Mission

To work with area governments to build a community boathouse facility down river from Key Bridge in Rosslyn. The Arlington Community Boathouse will offer an important new point of access for local citizens to appreciate and enjoy the Potomac as one of the area's most precious natural and recreational resources. We are working to:

  • Create public access to the Potomac River in Arlington County.
  • Host a variety of paddling and rowing programs for adults and youths.
  • Establish a home for the rowing programs of Arlington's public high schools.
  • Offer ecological and environmental education opportunities on the Potomac River.

Location

In response to a charge by Congress to recommend a site for a boathouse on the Arlington side of the river, the National Park Service has been studying four potential sites on the Virginia side of the Potomac. They have met with Arlington County staff and other parties to clarify the intended users of a new boathouse, seeking to clarify the necessary program elements and footprint of the building.

The Foundation favors a combination of the Upper Key Bridge and Lower Key Bridge alternatives. Boat storage, floating docks, and staging area would be located on the Lower Key Bridge site, while other support functions would be located in a facility on the Upper Key Bridge site. To a large extent, the facility built down by the river would be “invisible” to most of the public and thus would not visually intrude into the sylvan landscape characteristic of the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

location

Richard Williams Architects PLLC

History

More than 20 years ago, Washington-Lee High School's renowned rowing coach, Charlie Butt, began advocating the construction of a boathouse on the Virginia shore of the Potomac. He sparked an effort which continues today.

history

There is no question about the need for a new boathouse. Currently over 1,600 local high school students participate in competitive rowing, making this one of the largest rowing communities in North America. Over 500 of those students, representing fourteen schools, row out of the Thompson Boat Center in Washington, D.C. Severe overcrowding in the boathouses on the D.C. side of the river has forced many water enthusiasts -- from high school crews to kayakers and canoeists -- to seek distant launching sites, some more than an hour's drive away.

An impressive array of talent came together to create a coalition that has been working toward the creation of a rowing facility since 1991. Their work resulted in the citizens of Arlington voting to support a $1 million commitment of bond funds to establish the facility. The Arlington Boathouse Foundation is working to raise funds to ensure that the boathouse becomes reality. The project will be constructed using the best environmental practices, and one of its major goals is to increase awareness of the Potomac ecosystem.

The Arlington Boathouse Coalition is a local citizen group comprised of alumni of the Arlington high school rowing programs, their parents and neighbors, and others who believe in the idea of Arlington access to the Potomac River.

The Arlington Boathouse Foundation, registered with the State Corporation Commission in 1991, is a legal entity that has been established to receive and disburse money in support of an Arlington Community Boathouse. The current Directors are:

  • Erik Meyers- President
  • Paul Holland- Vice President
  • Ann Tuntundjian- Treasurer
  • Jerilyn Levi- Asst. Treasurer
  • George Kirschbaum- Secretary
  • Robert Swennes
  • Edward Holland
  • Nancy Butt Packard

Charlie's Dream

The current effort for an Arlington boathouse was inspired by the vision of the late Charlie Butt to build a boathouse for school and community rowing on the Rosslyn shoreline. Charlie began the crew program at Washington-Lee High School in 1949. During the 42 years of his coaching career there he turned out 35 national championship crews, including 13 in the boys’ varsity eight. Charlie took eight of his crews to the Henley Royal Regatta at Henley-on-the-Thames, England, winning the Princess Elizabeth Cup in 1964 and 1969. In 1991 Charlie organized a group of rowers, parents, coaches and other supporters into the Arlington Boathouse Coalition.

Charlie

In addition to building Washington-Lee's program, Charlie was instrumental in starting crew programs at numerous other area high schools and helped establish programs at Georgetown and George Washington Universities in the late 1960s.

Over the years, Charlie coached the summer youth program at the Potomac Boat Club, coached US Junior teams and helped to establish the Sandy Run Regional Park rowing facility on the Occoquan Reservoir. He brought his love of rowing to countless students and has inspired many to coach. Charlie Butt himself was a great coach, and a tireless friend and asset to the rowing community.