Rowing in Minnesota – History and Photography

In 1894, the Ulhlein family of Schlitz Brewing in Milwaukee offering the grand Schlitz Challenge Cup to be given to the winner of three consecutive races between Wisconsin and a rival of their choosing. ‘The silver cup was magnificent. Lined with gold and standing three feet high, it was a dazzling prize.’ The trophy was modeled after The Schlitz Atlas (shown above) which was used for marketing in the late 1880s.

27 January 2018

Sarah Risser

Last year, HTBS published two articles by Sarah M. Risser, who rows out of the historic Minnesota Boat Club in St. Paul. She runs a rowing history blog,, which chronicles the history of rowing in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. Here follows the beginning of an article Sarah published recently on her blog, “Rowing in Minnesota – History and Photography”.

Students at the University of Wisconsin initiated their first rowing club in 1874, the same year the University hired John Bascom to serve as president, and this was an unfortunate coincidence. Bascom arrived in Madison with an actively unsupportive stance toward college athletics, and while he tolerated the presence of a student-run rowing club, he offered nothing in the way of resources or encouragement to the athletically-inclined students. Competition with other clubs was out of the question; Bascom harbored concerns that if he opened Wisconsin’s storied doors to outside crews the vices of betting and drinking would waft in and corrupt his upstanding student body. Bascom underscored his dislike of collegiate sports by devoting a substantial passage of his baccalaureate sermon, ‘The Seat of Sin’ to the condemnation of athletics, specifically college regattas and ball games.

Read more here.

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