by Scott Yeomans
The Origin and History of the

Andover Sportsman's Club

Andover, Connecticut

Now that the club had its own land, attention turned to putting in an access road and building a club house.  Ted Wright, a club member, had an excavation and trucking business and agreed to bulldoze a road from the State Road (Route 6) to the railroad right-of-way, where it was planned to build a small club house.  Mr. Wright completed this initial work, 27 hours of bulldozing, in March, 1951 at a cost to the club of $100, well short of his normal rate which would have made the cost $225.  In March of 1952 Mr. Wright was back on the property, this time doing another 23 hours of bulldozing.  Quite possibly excavating the foundation hole for the club house.  The next March, Mr. Wright again shows work done, this time with both his bulldozer and his truck, presumably back filling and grading around the club house foundation.  The club house chimney was completed in October, 1953 at a cost of $385 and CL&P had hooked up electrical service to the club house site by the end of the same year.

In a September 1, 1954 letter to the Club membership, President Ted Wright outlined the current club status and a number of changes that would be made to ensure the financial stability of the club and assure that members are treated fairly as the club now had substantial assets and liabilities.  Points in the letter are -
• The club now owns about 120 acres of land in Andover and Bolton
• The Club House is nearing completion
• The property is now subject to a $3,000 mortgage, the proceeds of which has gone to purchase materials for the club house
• It is estimated that the club has property valued at approximately $6,000 or $3,000 more than the club owes
• Since there are about 30 members, each members interest in the club is about $100
• The club needs additional funds to complete the club house.
• A new corporation will be formed to own the club's current assets
• The new corporation will lease the land and facilities back to the club
• The new corporation will be a stock company and will issue $3,000 in par value of stock
• Each member in good standing of the club may purchase $100 of par value stock for $25
• The stock in the new corporation is only transferrable to another member of the owner's immediate family, unless it has first been offered for sale to the club at its then book value.
The plan as outlined above was approved and the new "Andover Sportsmen Club, Inc" was recognized by the State of Connecticut on November 3, 1954.  The new corporation's first meeting was held November 26, 1954.  Officers elected at that meeting were: President, John H. Yeomans; Vice President, Ted Wright; Secretary Joe Carter; and Treasurer John Phelps.  A total of 28 club members bought 10 shares each of the new corporation's stock.  The club property was transferred to the new corporation on January 29, 1955.  While the influx of funds from the stock sale temporarily addressed the club's financial issues, it wasn't long before these issues were the main order of business for the club once again.

In October, 1958, the presidents of the Club and the Corporation were once again writing the membership and the stock holders about financial matters.  They noted that the club had a balance in its checking account of about $100, but had immediate obligations of over $600.  Four proposals were put forth to address this financial short fall and to deal with future anticipated expenses: 1) Terminate the Club, sell the property, pay what is owed and distribute what remained to the share holders; 2) Sell more stock 3) Start a program of activities to generate sufficient funds to cover costs (it was noted that this had been attempted in the past with no success); and 4) Assess all members an annual fee sufficient to meet all expenses.  At the annual meeting of the stock holders, held March 22, 1959, it was approved to offer for sale an additional 400 shares of stock at $10 per share.  Each current stock holder would be eligible to purchase up to 14 shares of the newly issued stock.  Stock could be paid for over 10 months at $1 per share per month.


Beginning in the late 1950s and continuing into the early 1960s, the "Club" aspect of the Andover Sportsmen's Club was virtually non-existent.  As a result, there was no income to pay the property taxes, the insurance and to service the debts of the corporation.  This situation caused the corporation directors to once again put forth several proposals to deal with the lack of funds.  This time all of the proposals centered on disposing of the assets and dissolving the corporation.  The asset disposal recommendations included: 1) sell the property on the open market; 2) sell the property to members who will assume all responsibility for paying the bills; and 3) offer the property to the newly formed Town Recreation Council for community use.  At this time, there were 496 shares of stock outstanding, held by 28 individuals.  At the meeting held on September 25, 1962 to consider the proposals listed above, 15 shareholders were present.  All but one of the attendees were of the opinion that the Club and the Corporation should continue at all costs.  A motion was made to sell more stock to sustain the corporation until such time as the Club could be reactivated..  It was suggested that if enough funds could be raised to pay off the mortgage, the remaining carrying cost would be manageable.  $2,000 would be needed to pay the current indebtedness, including paying off the mortgage.  Stock was offered at $10 per share and restricted to a 1 share for each 2 shares already owned basis.

While the corporation dealt with the financial aspects of keeping the property and club house, some of the members went about trying to reactivate the Club.  On October 26, 1962, Club President Steve Ursin, Carl Stiens and others held a meeting at the club house.  The notice reads "If you are interested in any type of sports, such as Archery, Hunting, Fishing, Kennel Clubs, Rifle Clubs, Trap Shooting, Softball - - -  Won't you please come and bring a friend?"

Apparently this reinvigoration attempt didn't stick as a new group led by Alvin Skoog, Bill Dunnack , L. Ed Whitcomb, Bill Harriman  and others held a meeting at the Old Town Hall in November, 1966 to form a new sportsmen's group.  A December 1, 1966 newspaper article mentions that the new group had 45 members and were seeking more.  The plan was to lease the property of the Andover Sportmen's Club, Inc.  To that end, Mr. Skoog contacted the corporation directors about using their facilities.  Initial discussions at the October, 1966 corporation meeting was to offer the facilities for lease to the new group for $600 per year.  But by the end of the meeting, the decision was to postpone action on the part of the corporation and to let the new group make a proposal.  Mr. Whitcomb reported to the next meeting of the corporation that the new group was offering $400 per year.  It was stated that the group would rather go elsewhere than pay $600 per year.  Mr. Whitcomb also reported that he was trying to secure glass to repair the club house windows, that the wiring had been repaired so that the lights are working now, that brush had been cut and that trap shooting had commenced at the club house.  By the end of this January, 1967 meeting, the corporation had agreed to lease its facilities to the new group for $400 per year, "as is," with the club paying the liability insurance.  A formal one year lease was prepared and executed.  This "new" group, is the club that continues to this day.

The club continued to make repairs and improvements to the club house and grounds though out 1967, including the installation of the club house's first septic system.  A club newsletter was begun, dues were $10 per year with new members paying a $5 initiation fee, and the Board of Directors could spend up to $25 without membership approval.  Trap shooting was a regular activity.  At the time, the trap was a hand cocked machine, bolted to a stump just outside of the club house.  The Club's first Annual Meeting was held January 16, 1968 at Willie's Steak House in Manchester.  In February, 1968 the Club began giving a monthly trophy to the person that broke the highest percentage of clay pigeons out of 50 or more shot that month.  The twelve monthly winners would then participate in a shoot off to determine the annual trophy winner.

Trap shooting was improved in 1968 with the purchase of an electric trap to replace the manual machine.  Shortly after the purchase of the new trap, the club constructed the first trap house on the property (now the barbeque pit behind the lower club house).  Lights soon appeared, allowing shooting to continue after sun down.  Tuesday night was established as the only night that after dark shooting would take place.

The end of 1968 also brought a new lease with the property owners.  This time the lease was for 5 years, with the rent set at $600 per year.  This amount would not only cover the current corporation expenses, but would allow the corporation to pay down its outstanding debts.

The cost of a round of trap in 1968 was $1.25

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To view these photos full size, click on any of the small versions.
A few of the original documents pertaining to the building of the club house and the continuing problems with paying the bills while the club was inactive.