Club History

This page will contain factoids unearthed by the club's Historian, Doug Cooper. Each month, we hope to have a new fact posted as well as some pictures and other content. This is a work in progress, so stay tuned!

Thanks to Dennis Surette, we are now in possession of the Club’s first coffee pot. Ben Miller, a past president of the club, gave it to Dennis in 1979. Dennis says that the Club had a booth at the annual Andover fair in the 1940s and the coffee pot would be in the booth. It was used in a remote camp in Maine until it started leaking in 2013.

Dennis also said that some of the earliest club meetings were in held in Ben’s living room in Andover.

The Club thanks Dennis for the donation.

A speech given at a recent open house:

The Andover Sportsmen’s Club began meeting weekly in 1932 in various locations in Andover. It’s first official field day was held that year. People from other towns were invited to participate. The Club was formalized with a charter in 1934. Our purpose is to “better hunting and fishing conditions in the state and create a more friendly feeling among sportsmen of this vicinity.”  This property was not purchased until 1947 and the clubhouse was not completed until 1952. The clubhouse, still recognizable in old photographs, has undergone many renovations since then.  In the 1990s, the club house was raised to accommodate a state of the art indoor pistol range. We added the outside ranges over the years.

On July 14, 1932, the club met at the log cabin at Phillips Academy. Thirteen members were present at the meeting and 20 were absent. Eight members were accepted into the club. The balance in the treasury was $164.32. The next meeting was scheduled for July 28 and was to be held at the president’s house, 54 Salem Street in Andover. According to my research, that house was owned by Gordon Cannon.

In 1934, the club bought skeet and trap houses from the Georgetown sportsman’s club. Our club moved the houses to property known as the Symonds farm along the route 125 bypass in North Andover. The field was opened in May of ‘34 and twilight trap shoots were held on Wednesdays.

In September of 1934 Jim Henderson, member of ASC, won first prize in the registered skeet shoot at Essex County League field day. He broke 49 out of 50. The field day was held on the club grounds which, at the time, were on Porter Road in Andover.

The Andover Sportsmen’s club was formalized on December 12, 1934 with a charter signed by 12 members. The charter’s stated purpose was “to better hunting and fishing conditions in this state and create a more friendly feeling among the sportsmen of this vicinity.”

The New England Skeet Championship was decided at the Club's annual field day on September 29, 1935. Lou Curtis of Marblehead was the winner. There was no mention of him being a club member. However, two members representing the Club (Joseph Pitman and James Henderson) won the two-man team prize at the New Hampshire individual skeet championship. Pitman had a score of 94. Henderson's score was 93.

The Club was conducting fox hunts in 1948. The first one happened on May 2. Participants were to gather at Al Gallant’s house on Greenwood Road. Club officials were planning to release the hounds at 5:30 or 6:00am after an early breakfast. Between 75 and 100 dogs entered.  First, second, and third prizes to be awarded according to how the dogs performed. I looked could not find any results, though.

The Club’s annual fishing derby is one of our most well-known events. It began in 1949 at Hussey’s pond in the Shawsheen section of Andover. The fishing derby has had many names; including the Junior Anglers Jamboree and the Small Fry Fishing Derby.  The Derby has outgrown Hussey’s pond and is now held at Sudden Pond down the road.

From Andover Townsman November, 1949: A group of club members were to attend the North Reading Rifle Club’s Turkey Shoot on Sunday, November 20. The events were lucky target, swinging target, rifle 50-ft. offhand, and clay pigeons. A number of turkeys were to be awarded as prizes.

The North Andover Historical Society provided me with a report of the North Andover Building inspector in 1950. The permit for our clubhouse (on “Berry Pond Road”) was one of 117 permits granted.  The clubhouse cost an estimated $1,200 to build.


On May 5-6 1950, the Club sponsored its second fishing derby; which was then called the Junior Angler’s Jamboree. The Club stocked Hussey’s pond with 200 fish and it was estimated that 83 percent of them were caught. The winner was David Markert, aged 4. He caught a fish that was 11 ½ inches in length. David won a new rod, line, and hook.

Wilfred Boucher of the Andover Sportsmen’s Club and Harold Kent of the Lawrence Rod and Gun Club had perfect scores at a trap shoot that the Andover Club hosted in July of 1951. Thirty people participated in the shoot from Clubs all over Essex County.

The Club held a work party on the weekend of October 6-7, 1951 to help with the construction of the new clubhouse. The next regular business meeting was to be held on October 9 at the Peabody House.  Movies would be shown at the conclusion of the meeting. Refreshments served.

The club placed a notice in the April 23, 1953 Andover Townsman that the club will hold rifle shoots each Wednesday night. There was a nominal fee to cover ammunition and targets. The shoots were open to boys aged 13 and over whether or not they were club members. 

This from the Andover Townsman in November, 1953: “The Andovers of Massachusetts, USA and of Hants, England, will soon be shooting at each other via the mails if a plan suggested in the overseas borough is carried through”. The Andover, Mass. Board of Selectman received a letter from the mayor of Andover England which has a small bore rifle club. The club in England wanted to arrange a friendly postal shoot with a similar club here. The letter was turned over to Forrest Noyes of this club for action. Unfortunately, I haven't seen any further reports.

The Club sponsored a buffet “luncheon” and dance at the club house on Saturday evening March 19, 1955. The event was open to members, guests, and townspeople.  Club president Kenneth E. Wade served as host and he was assisted by Henry A. Batchelder, John Keith, John Broderick, Gene Zalla Jr. and William Quigley.

The Club hosted a conservation class in the spring of 1957. Top scorers in the class were recognized in the Andover Townsman on May 23 of that year. The stellar students were Robert Carr, Stewart Henderson, Betty-Jane McEvoy, Dan Grecoe, and Larry Muller. They are pictured with Forrest Noyes, chief instructor and club member, Ed Haseltine, club president Cris Muller, and state conservation officer Gordon Smith.

This month I will highlight Joe Monan’ s contributions to the Andover Sportsmens Club. He was President of the club in 1965. He was the club’s membership director for two years and assisted with the fishing derbies.

The "Small Fry" fishing derby happened on May 13, 1967 at Hussey's pond in North Andover. Two junior anglers (Shawn McKallagat and Ellen Cheetham) displayed their catches for the cameras.  The photo will soon appear on the Club's website. Bert Foss was chairman of the Derby arrangements and, interestingly, the youngster who pulled the biggest fish was to receive the Bert Foss Trophy.

In February of 1982, several members participated in a work party to replace beams in the cellar of the club house. The members identified in the polaroid photos are: Jerry Woodmansee, Fran (Frank?) Gallant, Frank Greslick, Joe Guanci, and Al Griffin.


I discovered meeting notes about improvements to the club grounds in 1988.  Construction of the outdoor range shelter was to begin in either late September or early October. Work on the tree stand on the archery range was supposed to start on the day after Thanksgiving. I read ahead into 1989 and it seems that all projects proceeded on schedule. Also, according to the meeting notes “a motion was made to open of the porch and put a door in place of the [not legible] and closing the end by the door motion passed unan.”

The Club’s fall 1999 newsletter reported on the success of the pistol teams. The Kodiaks finished in 1st place in division B of the Merrimack Valley pistol league (14 wins, 2 losses). The top shooter of the season was Joe Elliot who had a high average of 274. The Grizzlies (in divison C) ended the season with 10 wins and 6 losses. The top shooter was T.J. Baker who had a high average of 271.40