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 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 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.

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.

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