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New Book Captures Local and National History Of Boat House Row

CENTER CITY (CBS) -- Philadelphia's Boat House Row has been described as "storied," and now a local author has gathered those stories into a book. The new book is as much about the story of Philadelphia and American culture as it is a history of Boat House Row.

Rowers will be delighted by the archive of photos and anecdotes, one of which author Dotty Brown found hiding in plain sight.

"The Bachelor's Barge Club constitution, written in 1853, required that every member be a bachelor," she said.

But Brown hopes readers will appreciate the Row as a microcosm of evolving values.

"The changes that have occurred there have paralleled what's happened in the city and the country."

Well-to-do white male rowers gave way to working men and immigrants such as John Kelley, then women and, today, Philadelphia City Rowing is recruiting inner-city youth for the sport.

"There are a lot of things that reflect our culture in general that turn up in the Row."

Brown hopes the book will help Philadelphians appreciate the Row as more than just pretty lights.

"It is a treasure and it is a historic one and it puts us on the map as a strong athletic destination."

"Boathouse Row: Waves of Change in the Birthplace of American Rowing" is published by Temple University Press.

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