New Rochelle’s earliest club and one of the countries oldest clubs, by far was started in 1880 when Bill Pinckney, a former member of the New York Rowing Club, met with six others in Joseph Lambden’s offices at the corner of North Avenue and Huguenot Street. From that impromptu meeting came the New Rochelle Rowing Club, still thriving and very active after 130 years.
Its first clubhouse was one story shed on the edge of Mill Pond near the foot of Church Street. But in 1882 the club moved to a larger facility at Hudson Park. In 1886, the scrappy young club grabbed headlines when it won its very first rowing competition, defeating the renowned New York Athletic Club.
The sport of rowing grew rapidly in the late 1880s. The Rowing Club’s popular Annual Regatta attracted as many as 500 members and spectators to events in Echo Bay. As the club expanded, the club bought new boats, including new four-oared gigs in which they went on to claim more racing titles. The fever of eight-oared rowing did not hit until 1908 when they borrowed a boat from the New York Athletic Club and won a major match race.
The rowing Club treasures its three National Championships. The record books reflect that Frank Murphy won the national Intermediate Single Sculls title in 1920, Another National title was captured in 1947, and a third in 1964, shortly before the club entered the Tokyo Olympic Games, in which Cy Cromwell and Jim Storm won the Silver Medal in the Double Sculls category. It is currently Home to the Fordham Prep Crew.
Today, the shore clubhouse sports an historic cupola, which originally capped old New Rochelle City Hall, built in 1864. When the building was demolished 1964, the cupola languished unattended for nine years in the city yard. The Rowing Club offered to rescue the cupola and mount it on it's building.