The ASUW Shell House is home of the famous “Boys in the Boat” and an icon of rowing and UW history. However, this building has a much deeper history according to HistoryLink. Below 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, the Shell House was used to store seaplanes and train pilots during the final months of World War I. At the time, the UW campus was the site of a massive Naval training camp headed by Commander Miller Freeman.

Aerial WWI camp


Learn more about the Naval history of the Shell House in these articles provided by Lee Corbin:


February 2022 – WWI Navy Seaplane Hangar Still Serving





          February 2022 – A Veteran in Building #1651



September 2021 – Historic Seaplane Hangar’s Many Lives





July 2021 – Princeton at the University of Washington




Dec. 2020 – The World War I Hangar That the Boys in the Boat Called Home




March 2020 – All Over The Map: UW Navy base was ground-zero for 1918 flu




Fall 2019 – Former WWI Navy hangar stands test of time at UW campus





Fall 2019 – Wings of Gold – World War I Seaplane Hanger






Fall 2019 – NOUS Northwest Commandery





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

George Pocock was also an accomplished speedboat builder! Read about his endeavors in building some of the fastest speedboats in the Northwest in this article by Lee Corbin.


The Shell House was 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.

This 1929 article from The Athletic describe the then-brand-new ASUW athletic facilities, which included a stadium and the ASUW Shell House.

To learn more about the ASUW Shell House, check out the HistoryLink piece that details the rich history of this incredible building:


Read the essay

We want to acknowledge the lands and waters where the ASUW Shell House rests, stəx̌ʷugʷił (stukh-ug-weelth) ‘Carry a Canoe’ in southern Lushootseed – land of the Duwamish, ‘the people of the inside’, and all the Coast Salish people. It is the land which touches the shared waters of all tribes and bands within the Suquamish, Tulalip and Muckleshoot nations.