Swollen Schuylkill draws gawkers to iconic spots

Philadelphia’s scenic Boathouse Row and Kelly Drive along the Schuylkill River are a popular tourist destination. Today, it drew crowds for a different reason, as people came out to glimpse the hurricane damage.

The pier at Fairmount Water Works is usually a serene place where tourists can get the perfect snapshot of boathouse row. Today, the swollen river noisily rushed past  and visitors came out to get a different kind of photo.

Among them was Philadelphian Bonnie Wenograd, who said, “The river is super high, and it’s carrying a lot of debris, so it is just neat to see how powerful it is.”

Wenograd says this was the first hurricane she ever experienced, and she wanted to share her photos with friends and family.

As rain eased and hints of sun teased the city, families were strolling along the soggy pathways that are usually packed with bicyclists and joggers.

Along Kelly Drive, which is closed for traffic, the first floors of the iconic boathouses were flooded.

Margaret Meigs, a member of University Barge club, was working along with fellow volunteers to get the boats out of the club house and hoist them onto racks on the lawn.

“The boats are down low in our bays and the water is coming up to a level unprecedented,” said Meigs. “It’s never been as high as this since our boat house was built back in 1871, so we need to get boats up so they won’t be floating around as the river water comes in to our boat house.”

Meigs says the boat houses are designed to handle some flooding, and nothing other than boats is stored on the first floor.

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