Cambridge Boat Club was founded by civic-minded Cantabrigians who gathered to create a common resource for athletics and socializing. The club was incorporated under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on April 7, 1909.
During this era, people began to formally take notice of the importance of individuals and groups to marshal their forces in stewardship of the nation's open spaces and recreational lands. It was the time of Teddy Roosevelt's presidency, when many of our great national parks were established and Walter Muir’s photography espoused the passion of the environmental movement. Mount Auburn Cemetery and Frederick Law Olmsted's Emerald Necklace were still in their infancy.
Throughout its history, CBC members have been outspoken advocates for the Charles River and its continued vitality as a recreational resource and rowing organizations at home and around the world.
The original site of the clubhouse was on the north bank of the Charles, near the foot of Hawthorne Street in Cambridge. When the club first opened, the membership was already well over 100. In addition to a few rowing shells, there were rowboats, many canoes and two small sailboats.
As the years passed it became obvious to all that rowing was to be the primary interest of the club. As activities expanded in those early years, the club hosted dances for adults and tea dances on Saturday afternoons for the younger crowd. In the summer there was swimming and diving from the float and in the winter skating often followed by hot chocolate.
By 1914 the membership had reached 179. During the period 1939-1945 much of the clubhouse was occupied by British War Relief and later the American Red Cross.
On February 12, 1947, the clubhouse began its move to its current location at Gerrys Landing, approximately half a mile upstream from its original site. Moving slowly on rollers along the riverbank it was finally in position in April that year and was officially reopened on November 25, 1947.
In 1999 the clubhouse was expanded to provide an accessible main entrance, accessible toilet and shower facilities on the first floor, more storage space for boats, office space that is currently used by the Head of the Charles, and a library. Today, CBC is a vibrant community of members from around the USA and the world.