"On the banks of the Schuylkill River is a lighthouse "I do not see why with such a beautiful river and park, the women of Philadelphia cannot and do not use them. Why should we not have a clubhouse there? No city in the world has a park which offers such advantages for just such a club, let us write a notice and post it on the bulletin board here at the Acorn Club and see how many women want it." -Miss Margaret L. Corlies
The Bicycle, Barge, and Canoe Club had their first meeting at the Acorn Club, 1424 Walnut Street in Philadelphia on Thursday, April 29, 1897. Initially, the group was small but the potential for administrative leadership was apparent at that first meeting. Miss Margaret L. Corlies, visionary and founder was made President of the club at the second meeting. It was thought the name "The Bicycle, Barge and Canoe Club" was too cumbersome of a name and on May 7, 1897, with much discussion the club came to be known as The Sedgeley Club. Within that year, Miss Corlies realized that two-hundred women in Philadelphia shared her dream.
Initially, the women rented the old Skating Club building as a meeting place. In February 1902 Miss Corlies applied to the Park Commissioners for one of the most desirable sites in the Park for a new clubhouse. They had outgrown the current one and had become weary of sharing with the Skating Club for three months during the winter as their lease required them to do.
The Commissioners turned them down on February 14, 1902, Miss Corlies was informed by a most prominent citizen that "there was no influence or power in the city that could give us the site." This nettled her sorely and made her more determined that the site should be the Sedgeley Club.
Fortune again favored them and with hard work, friends new and many turned up and by May, the Commissioners had decided to grant them the building. Daily and weekly papers were loud in praise of their success and efforts. Arthur H. Brockie, Esq., was chosen as the architect, but the first plans were too expensive and they couldn't move forward until new plans for the building were drafted.
December 11, 1902, they broke ground, the Board handled the spade which is now in the clubhouse, and all carried paddles with "Sedgeley" in the blade. December 26, 1902, they were able to lay the cornerstone of the first women's clubhouse in Fairmount Park .... the only women’s boating club that we know of, possibly the only one in the world.
Adapted from “The Light on Turtle Rock 1897-1985” by Mrs. D. Weston Darby.
15 Kelly Drive, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19130, United States
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