History

A Timeline of Key Events

1877

John Wieland

John Wieland and his brothers, immigrants from Germany, along with the Kehrlein brothers found the Dolphin Club. Membership is limited to twenty-five and a small shed at the foot of Leavenworth Street is used as a clubhouse. The first Ladies Day and 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 11th.

Hazel Langenour

1915

The concept for Aquatic Park is approved.

1917

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 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 for 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

Jack LaLanne

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 12:00 PM the next afternoon at water temperatures ranging between 56 to 58 degrees. Several pilot rowboats and other craft accompany the swimmer.

1974

Honorary life member Jack LaLanne, shackled and manacled, tows a rowboat from Alcatraz to the club in less than ninety 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 twenty-five year period, with one renewal option of twenty-four 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 completes his 50th Golden Gate crossing.

Joe Bruno

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 twenty-four 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 Kimberley Chambers swims from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Farallones as part of a relay team of six women setting a world record.

2014

Dolphin Joe Locke swims from the South Farallon Islands to the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge in 13 hours and 58 minutes becoming only the second person to achieve this after Ted Erikson’s mark from September 1967. Dolphin Kimberley Chambers crosses the North Channel becoming the sixth person worldwide to complete the Oceans Seven Challenge.