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A Hidden Philly Gem: The Corinthian Yacht Club

A Hidden Philly Gem:The Corinthian Yacht Club

Corinthian Yacht Club, Essington


Atwater Kent Jr., commodore 1942-44


ver fly out of Philadelphia International Airport and spot this mansion just south of it, along the Delaware? I had no idea this was a sailing club, and one with nearly as much history as Boathouse Row. For those well-heeled Philadelphians of the 19th century who eschewed rowing, sailing was a suitable alternative, and thus the Corinthian Yacht Club was established in the late 1800s. Among its members were Walter Lippincott whose brother J.B. Lippincott of publishing fame, was a member of the Bachelors Barge Club. Another of the many commodores whose portraits adorn the Corinthian’s walls was Atwater Kent, Jr., son of the Atwater Kent who invented an early ignition system and in the 1920s went on to build (in Philadelphia) the largest radio company in the country.  Atwater Jr. ran the Atwater Kent Manufacturing Co. –while enjoying sailing on the side — until his death at age 79 in 1988. Of course, the eponymous museum was funded by the family.

Boyce Budd, 1964 Olympian

A surprise guest at my talk at the club  was 1964 Olympian Boyce Budd, whom I interviewed for the book. I turned the mike over to him so he could speak about the tough training and even tougher (and tough-talking) crew that against all odds made it to the Tokyo Olympics. Imagine: a 45-year-old Hungarian refugee as coxswain, a 34-year-old father of six; a couple of one-time Yalies butting heads against a pair of  military brat/brothers, and two young kids from LaSalle College who basically ducked the mayhem. It was quite a boat. Read Boathouse Row to see what happened !

(Post published March 8, 2017)