L'Hirondelle Club of Ruxton clubhouse

Club History

A regatta invitation issued in 1872 listed the L’Hirondelle Boat Club among the competitors and is the first tangible record of the Club’s existence. The word L’Hirondelle is French for swallow and many have guessed at our name’s origin. The Club’s name likely was meant to capture the spirit of those early small crafts that flew along the Patapsco River like the small, swiftly flying birds with the long pointed wings and forked tail: the swallow.

In 1890 a group of oarsmen constructed a boat house for their L’Hirondelle Boat Club on Lake Roland, which was built in 1861 to supply water to Baltimore City.  The boat house was located near where the tennis house currently is located.

John Redwood presided over the Club’s transition from the banks of the Patapsco River to Ruxton and its evolution into a more formal organization. During Redwood’s 47 years as L’Hirondelle’s president its members embraced non-boating sporting activities, such as baseball and lacrosse, as well as various social functions and the word “boat” vanished from the name.

By the time Lake Roland silted-in and had turned to land, L’Hirondelle’s members had constructed its first clubhouse in 1911. The clubhouse has gone through so many renovations and alterations that little remains of the original, early 20th century structure, with one exception. A 1994 renovation project uncovered a portion of the original tile floor of the porch which remains a part of the club today.

The membership continued improvements by adding the first swimming pool in 1928. The original boat house was replaced with the first tennis house in 1929, which supported the two clay courts and grass courts that were located over the old baseball field where the upper courts are today. With the installation of the first paddle court in the late 1960s, L’Hirondelle became one of the first clubs in the region to offer platform tennis.

The Club’s facilities and rich sports history have formed the nucleus of the Club’s social life. But special event socials and parties also have a long history.  Over the years, the Club has hosted countless Saturday night dances and oyster roasts; annual Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations; as well as numerous weddings and special event parties. Through it all L’Hirondelle has been, and continues to be, the center of social life in Ruxton.