Philadelphia's Schuylkill River has long been the mecca of American rowing. Boathouse Row along Kelly Drive was originally constructed in 1858, and the race course set in Fairmount Park -- with the Art Museum and Philadelphia skyline in the background -- is among the most picturesque settings of any rowing course in the world.
The Schuylkill River is not used for power boating; the only competition on the river is rowing. The course is maintained by the "Schuylkill Navy," the oldest sporting organization still in existence. The Schuylkill is home to several prestigious rowing events including the Stotesbury Cup Regatta, the Dad Vail Regatta and the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta. Summer events include the Independence Day Regatta and the Schuylkill Navy Regatta.
Penn's Madeira Shell House is home to all three varsity intercollegiate programs -- men's heavyweight, men's lightweight, and women's. It is the only collegiate boathouse on Boathouse Row. (Currently, there are 14 boathouses that make up the Schuylkill Navy.) Penn's boathouse was constructed in 1876 and is among one of the oldest collegiate boathouses in the country.