RIVERSIDE BOAT CLUB 150TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY SERIES
By Dick Garver
Riverside celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1919 with a rousing banquet in its second floor hall. The celebrants ranged from past and current members to the Mayor of Cambridge, the presidents of other clubs and Harvard’s rowing coach. Revered coach George Faulkner was presented with a souvenir of his double sculls victory in the 1876 National Centennial Regatta. This month’s article in Riverside’s 150th Anniversary series, a verbatim transcription of The Cambridge Chronicle’s story on the event, gives a glimpse of a club that was vibrant and optimistic as Riverside is today but was situated in a very different society.
The following article from The Cambridge Chronicle, with spelling and punctuation intact, reports on Riverside’s 50th anniversary banquet in 1919. It portrays a club with a level of enthusiasm comparable to today’s, but with a very different ethnic complexion and place in Cambridge society.
The Cambridge Chronicle
October 18, 1919, by J. Frank Facey
“The Riverside Boat Club celebrated it golden jubilee at its clubhouse on the esplanade, last Sunday night, with a banquet, attended by about 200 members and quests. The hall of the clubhouse in which the banquet was held was gayly decorated with the large number of trophies, banners, cups and flags which the members have won in races during the past 50 years. Among those who participated in the jubilee were many old member whose reminiscences were most interesting. Many of the quests were officers of other rowing clubs and devotees of the sport of rowing and their remarks were very entertaining.
Following the banquet, an entertainment was given consisting of vocal selections by Vincent Moakler, Thomas A. Quinn, Frank Power and Robert McKinley, Jr.
President Joseph M. Murphy presided and after extending a welcome introduced (former president) J. Frank Facey as toastmaster. The speakers were Mayor Edward W. Quinn, Dr. George B. McGrath, president of Union Boat Club, James P Fox, of the St. Alphonsus Rowing association, William Haines, rowing coach at Harvard, Lieut. Robert MacLauglin, commander of the Cambridge post of the American Legion (World War I had concluded less than a year before), John D., Ryan, Frank Smith, Henry Delano, of East Boston, ex-Senator James W. Bean, John Corrigan and William Quick.
The veteran coach and member of the club, George Faulkner, was seated at the head table and was felicitated by many of the speakers. Mayor Quinn, on behalf of the members, presented Mr. Faulkner with a leather easy chair. Mr. Faulkner responded briefly, thanking the members for their kindness. Mr. Fox, who is also a veteran oarsman, sprung a neat surprise on Mr. Faulkner as well as those in attendance. He presented Mr. Faulkner with the bow of the boat in which Mr. Faulkner and his partner, the late Patsy Regan, won double scull championship of the world at the Philadelphia centennial over 40 years ago. Mr. Fox said that he purchased the boat some time after the race and has had it ever since. It was named ‘Boston’, and as it was showing its age he decided to cut off four feet of its bow and present it to Mr. Faulkner. The souvenir contained the name ‘Boston,’ which was on it when Mr. Faulkner and his partner won the only event at the centennial won by an American. Mr. Fox was given a rousing vote of thanks for his thoughtfulness and Mr. Faulkner was completely surprised. The gathering broke up with all joining in singing several popular songs, under the leadership of Bobby McKinley and accompanied by Burke’s orchestra.
The Riverside club has done much to foster amateur rowing in this vicinity and numbered among its members many champion oarsmen. It has won two national eight-oared amateur championships, one in 1896 and one in 1906 (see last month’s installment in this series), and last summer on the Charles river captured the New England eight-oared championship. It has also won two national amateur single scull championships, one in 1896 and one in 1908, and last summer won the won the national amateur double scull championship.
The club is in a most prosperous condition and its members expect to make a better showing in the future than in the past.”