A Philadelphia Rowing Tradition

The Malta Boat Club was founded as the Malta Barge Club on February 22, 1860 by members of the Minnehaha Lodge of the Sons of Malta. The Club initially used a house on Smith’s Island in the Delaware River, just off Chestnut Street. There the Club kept its first boat, a six-oared barge called the “Minnehaha”. In 1863, the club underwent reorganization and moved to the east side of the Schuylkill just above the Spring Garden Street Dam. In 1865, Malta purchased the clubhouse of the Excelsior Club, which stood on the site of our existing boathouse.

Malta’s current membership is comprised of prominent businessmen, doctors, lawyers, educators, priests and students. Former members include one of the original signers of the Schuylkill Navy Charter, a US Featherweight boxing champion, a US lightweight wrestling champion, a Congressman and Solicitor General of the United States, a Philadelphia District Attorney, Olympians and past commodores of the Schuylkill Navy.

The club’s colors are Royal Blue and White, it’s symbol is the Maltese Cross. The leafs of the cross stand for the virtues prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude while the eight points stand for beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

Club Facilities

Boat storage and water access

Malta houses both private and club equipment with internal boat racks. Club members store blades and boats in one of two bays with direct access to the most historic rowing in North America, the Schuylkill River.

Social and meeting spaces

Malta’s second floor is home to three beautiful meeting rooms and is considered the social center of the club. All members and guests feel at home in a setting that contains 150 years of rowing tradition and memorabilia. With a beautiful deck view of the Schuylkill, the historic Art Museum, Boathouse Row, and downtown Philadelphia, Malta’s second floor is the perfect place for members to gather for monthly meetings and social affairs.

Workout Facilities

The third floor of Malta supports dozens of members annually with full erg and weight facilities. This heated space carries rowers through long winter cross-training when the water of the Schuylkill is frozen. The high vaulted ceilings of the top floor of the club used to host the Malta men’s basketball team but now support locker and shower facilities for members.