Washington Canoe Club

The Washington Canoe Club, constructed in 1904, is an excellent example of shingle style architecture.

The two-story frame building faces south onto the Potomac River and is designed to be seen from the river and opposite shore line. the five-bay main structure is symmetrical about a central cross gable. three-story octagonal towers frame the main block at its east and west ends. A smaller two-story addition, also shingled, extends the building to the east. Despite damage caused by numerous floods, ice jams, and Corps of Engineers' projects, the Washington Canoe Club retains its original architectural character. Primary interior spaces like the grill room, ballroom, and board room are virtually unchanged. The complex massing of this shingle-clad building forms an important element of the visual appearance of the District of Columbia shoreline from the Virginia bank of the Potomac.

While the building has been altered, it retains its historic architectural character. The Washington Cance Club's handsome composition, use of materials, prismatic volume, and continuity of surface are still readily apparent despite later changes. Because the addition has been present throughout much of the period of significance and because it harmonizes with the older building, it does not affect the essential form and integrity of the Washington Canoe Club. The addition incorporates the materials of the older building and complements its architectural expression. As with the main block, the mass and continuity of exterior surface take precedence over detail and ornament. Because of its lower height and simple massing, the addition is clearly secondary to the older building. The white horizontal band above the 1st floor of the addition extends the line of the balcony rail of the older building, reinforcing the horizontal original composition. Thus the Washington Canoe Club retains sufficient integrity to convey its historic associations. The building still serves its original purpose and is occupied by the organization through which it gained its historic significance.

Built c. 1890;
DC Inventory: January 23, 1973,
National Register: March 19, 1991
Within Georgetown HD and Potomac Gorge
US ownership (land only)



3700 Water Street, NW