What we today call the Boathouse was originally constructed in 1908 as a comfort station and open air pavilion similar in style to the World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park.
Situated just north of the main lake, and not far from the center of the Lafayette Park, the Boathouse presents a striking visual from virtually every point in the park. It has supported countless activities and events throughout its one hundred plus years of existence. Unique features include removable multi pane window frames that fit within its ten arches, to enclose the structure for overwintering palms and other tender plants, a fireplace, eight porthole windows and elegantly curved parapet walls.
This roof project is only the first of several improvements for the 2,000 square foot boathouse, but perhaps the most important because it will make the structure weathertight. Still to come are improvements to the bathrooms and heating system, interior decoration and lighting, and restoration of the handsome multi-pane and porthole windows.
Those follow-on projects will make the boathouse much more attractive to those who would like to use it to host meetings, parties and other events.
Fundraising and design for this $170,000 roof project was coordinated through the Lafayette Park Conservancy, and comprises about two thirds private and one third public funding.
Restoration of the Boathouse roof was completed in June 2012.