History


Below is a timeline of key events in the history of the Dolphin Club

1877

John Wieland

John Wieland

John Wieland and his brothers, along with the Kehrlein brothers,  all immigrants from Germany,  found the Dolphin Club. Membership is limited to 25,  and a small shed at the foot of Leavenworth Street is used as a clubhouse.

The first “Ladies Day & Rowing Regatta” is held at Black Point Cove,  later to be known as Aquatic Park Cove.

1879
Dolphin Club rowers win the first “Pacific Amateur Rowing Association” Regatta.

1883
Membership limit is increased to 40.

1896
The two-story clubhouse at the foot of Van Ness is completed.

1911
Hazel Langenour becomes the first woman to swim the Golden Gate, on August 11.

1915
The concept for Aquatic Park is approved.

1917

Hazel Langenour

Hazel Langenour beginning the Golden gate swim

The first Golden Gate group swim is organized by the Dolphin Club.

1923
Hyde Street Pier built by Southern Pacific for its car ferries.  Charles M. Farrell is instrumental in getting the Pier built.  Ferryboats take autos and passengers to Sausalito and Berkeley from Hyde Street Pier for several years.

1925
Black Point Cove becomes the property of the City of San Francisco.  In exchange, produce exchange property is given to Pacific Railroad.

1927
Clubs are moved from the foot of Van Ness to the foot of Larkin Street.

1931
The first pilings for the new pier (Muni Pier) are driven.

1937
The clubs are jacked up and moved on rollers from their site at the foot of Larkin Street to their current site at the foot of Hyde Street.  The clubs still own their buildings at this point and pay nothing to the City in rent.  The city agrees to pay $3,800, the cost of moving the clubs, in return for the clubs’ deeding their buildings to the city and signing tenancy agreements with the city.

1939
Aquatic Park opened to the public.

1939-45
Aquatic Park serves as a military headquarters

1949
The “Dolphin Log” makes its debut .

1950
The Aquatic Park boathouse is leased to the Maritime Museum Association.  The Dolphin Club wins the Pacific Amateur Oarsmen Regatta.

1953
The “Fort Sutter”,  an old riverboat built in 1912,  is pulled up next to the South End and the Dolphin Club.

1959
The Fort Sutter is burned to the waterline,  allegedly by disgruntled members of the South End Rowing Club.

1960
First organized Alcatraz swim.

1967
Lieutenant Colonel Stewart Evans swims from the Farallon Islands to Point Bolinas (20 miles north of San Francisco), becoming the first person to complete the crossing to the mainland.  The swim of 19.57 miles begins at 10:17 pm on August 27th and finishes at 12 pm the next afternoon,  at water temperatures ranging between 56 to 58 degrees.  Several pilot rowboats and other craft accompany the swimmer.

Jack LaLanne

Jack LaLanne

1974
Honorary life member Jack LaLanne,  shackled and manacled,  tows a rowboat from Alcatraz to the club in less than 90 minutes.

1975
The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is formed from an assortment of Bay Area parks and seashores.  The state transfers Aquatic Park, with its expensive restoration projects on schooners like the “C.A. Thayer” and “Wapama” and the tugboat “Eppleton Hall”,  to the better funded federal government.

1976
Women are admitted to the two clubs.  The South Enders and Dolphins are required to sign separate leases with the City.  Each club’s lease is to run for an initial 25-year period, with one renewal option of 24 years.  By managing their operations themselves,  the clubs relieve the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department of this task,  while helping the department attain its mission of providing recreational opportunities for San Franciscans.

1979
Dolphin men’s and women’s relay teams dominate the Maui Channel swim.

1980
A transient camping underneath the club accidentally starts a fire that destroys the newly acquired Ariel Club building.  Many photographs and other archives are destroyed.

1985

Joe Bruno

Joe Bruno

Joe Bruno completes his 50th Golden Gate crossing.

1988
The ship “Balclutha” arrives at Aquatic Park for permanent berthing at the Hyde Street Pier.

1992
The “John Wieland” is rolled into the club house boat shop for a comprehensive overhaul.

1997
Fully overhauled and refurbished, the “John Wieland” is relaunched.

1998
The Dolphin Club website is posted online.

1999
The Dolphin Club renews a 24-year lease with the City of San Francisco.

2000
Dolphin Sebastian Bea along with partner Ted Murphy wins Silver at the Sydney Olympic Games in the coxless pair event.

2012
Dolphin Kimberly Chambers swims from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Farallones as part of a relay team of 6 women, setting a world record.