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Milwaukee River, circa 1908.
The Milwaukee Rowing Club was founded in 1894 and for nearly 100 years members rowed on the Milwaukee River above the North Avenue dam which, until the 1930's, was the city's principal recreational area with swimming beaches, swimming schools, and canoeing and rowing clubs. The Club is not Milwaukee's first or only rowing club. In the late 19th Century there was an earlier club called the Milwaukee Boat Club as well as other rowing clubs.

Until it burned in 1961, the Club boathouse was located at the east end of the North Avenue dam. The Club then moved to the former Downer College boathouse in Hubbard Park until that burned in 1989. After that fire, the Club moved below the dam to its present location at 1990 North Commerce Street, less than a mile from its original site.

Birthday of August Grabe, club founder, circa 1930s.
Construction of the new boathouse was completed in 2003 as part of the Beerline River Homes and River Court development.