The ASUW Shell House is home of the famous “Boys in the Boat” and an icon of rowing and UW history. However, there is a much deeper history to this building that HistoryLink recently wrote an essay about. Here are a few of the stories that the Shell House brings together.


Known as “Carry a Canoe” in Lushootseed,  (stukh-ug-weelth) for 8,000 years by the Lake Washington People, a natural portage that was used by families and tribes. This location is identified in the Waterlines Project Map documented by the Burke Museum.

The past and present will merge and overlap as the original waterlines are marked in landscape design and canoe journey culture will be taught and celebrated within.


Built by Navy Captain Luther E. Gregory one year after the completion of the Montlake Cut in 1918 – to house seaplanes and to train pilots during the final months of WWI when UW campus was the site of a massive Naval training camp headed by Commander Miller Freeman.

Aerial WWI camp


One of the only two surviving wood hangars from WWI, and the only one to house seaplanes.

airplane hangar


Home of the legendary 1936 crew, and shell builder and innovator, George Pocock; original home of Lake Washington Rowing Club, and the resurgence of UW Women’s Rowing in 1969.

'36 boys on apron w W jerseys


The First UW building to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places (1975 as Old Canoe House), and the first UW building to become a Seattle Landmark (2018). Read about our Historical Marker, officially placing the Shell House on the National Register of Historical Places. Click here!


…and many more. To learn more about the background of the ASUW Shell House, check out History Link’s recent essay detailing the rich history of this incredible building:


Read the essay