History of Green Lake Crew
The youth rowing program was organized by a group of community leaders and neighborhood supporters in 1947, with the first crew beginning rowing in the summer of 1948. The original Conroy boathouse was located along the Eastern shoreline of Green Lake near Evans Pool. This remained the site of the Green Lake Crew program until the “new” Massart Shellhouse was built by the Aqua Theater contractor without cost to the City when that structure was being constructed in 1950. Guided by the Seattle Junior Crew Rowing Commission, the crew received equipment, and travel and operational support. By the mid-1950s, Seattle Parks and Recreation involvement had increased and the program was able to grow and develop continuity between seasons. In the Seattle earthquake of 1965, the shellhouse received extensive damage. Rather than just conduct repairs, the Department expanded the boathouse to accommodate additional shell storage and improve the launching areas.
Canoeing and sailing came to the lake in the late 1960s with the introduction of two public clubs, the Seattle Canoe Club and the Seattle Sailing Association. Both of these groups allowed for the expansion of small craft program opportunities without impacting the Department budget . . . a strong group of volunteers worked closely with Department staff, forming a successful partnership for nearly 20 years.
The 1968 Forward Thrust Bond Issue allowed for the construction of a new small craft center to accommodate rowing, sailing, and canoeing on Green Lake. This facility was completed in 1980 and included the remodeling of the Massart Shellhouse, the partial demolition of the Aqua Theater, and the addition of a building to house sailing and canoeing. The Green Lake Small Craft Center was dedicated on September 27, 1980.
Adult rowing was first offered to the public in the fall of 1984 and has since grown to be a large and stable portion of the program.