The Arlington Boathouse Foundation

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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.

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 commitiment 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
  • Carole Robinson
  • Robert Swennes
  • Edward Holland
  • Vaughan Bowen
  • Nancy Butt Packard
  • Charles Veatch

 


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.

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.

 


Have a question or comment?
Please contact us at the address below.

Arlington Boathouse Foundation
P.O. Box 7458
Arlington, Va 22207

or email us at info@arlingtonboathouse.org

The Arlington Boathouse Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

A financial statement is available upon written request from the Virginia Office of Consumer Affairs.

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Copyright 1998, Arlington Boathouse Foundation.