Located about three miles upriver from the Boathouse, on the east side of Kelley Drive, is Castle Ringstetten, the club house of the Undine Barge Club. The Castle, which takes it name from the home of Price Huldbrand in the Legend of Undine, was designed by Frank Furness and constructed in 1875 at a cost of $1,700.
Originally a goal and rest facility for the oarsmen, with a floating dock on the river front, Castle Ringstetten marked the social side of the new sport of rowing.
A generous grant from the William B. Dietrich Foundation provided funding to launch the exterior restoration work in 1997. The external restoration was completed and the Boathouse was commemorated in July, 1999.
Carriage sheds and horse stalls were constructed by the rear of the building, from the Bridge Avenue entrance, for members who arrived by less arduous means. The grounds comprised about two acres extending up from the river bank.
Castle Ringstetten was dedicated on May 13, 1876 on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the Club, “…the event being celebrated by large number of members, accompanied by their friends, the entire party being taken to the Castle in the Steamer Gazelle.”
Like the Boathouse, Castle Ringstetten is a well-preserved example of the architecture of Frank Furness. One-and-a-half stories in height, with a peaked roof, it incorporates the bold form, shapes, and leaded glass windows that typify “Furnessque” design. The Main Room, or Reception Room, has been in constant use for monthly Club dinners since 1876. This is the building’s key attribute, conveying its purpose of fellowship.
Flanking the Main Room is the Buttery Hatch, now a refridgerator, with a bar and seating for casual conversation nearby. The stained glass window in this room was presented as a gift in 1893. The Main Room opens onto airy, shaded porches facing the river on two sides of the building. A pantry and kitchen are in the rear.
Read more about the history of Ringstetten, Undine, and of Boathouse Row in the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography online provided by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.