SIUSLAW ROD & GUN CLUB HISTORY
1928 THRU 1945
Tradition says that the Siuslaw Rod & Gun Club was established in 1928. Indeed, the date prominently displayed on the Clubhouse. Although actual documentation on the establishment of the Club can not be found, it is speculated that early Club records were lost in a devastating event that took place in 1963. It was possibly, however, to reconstruct some portions of the early Club history from articles that appeared in the local newspaper. Beginning with the Siuslaw Oar and later the Siuslaw News, numerous articles appear on Club activities. The following history has been complied from newspaper articles that appeared from 1928 through 1945.
FORMATION OF THE CLUB
The first mention of the Club appears in a July 27, 1928 issue of the Siuslaw Oar. The article reported on the previous meeting and the upcoming August meeting. An October 28, 1928 article references the adoption of Bylaws for the Club. This would seem to confirm that the Club started operation in 1928.
However, other newspaper articles reference an earlier organizational date. A June 28,1940 article states that the Club was “founded in June of 1927”. The article mentions an Earl H. Hill who has been a member from almost the beginning. Mr. Hill gave a presentation on the accomplishments of the Club from 1927 to present (1940). A January 25, 1942 article states that the Club was formed in 1927 with Larry Derrin as it’s first President. A Siuslaw Oar article dated June 12, 1942 states the first Club meeting was held in June of 1927 at the Galen Morse barber shop in Florence.
In the post World War I era small rural communities were somewhat isolated and relied on local social organizations for entertainment. Florence was no exception. Numerous organizations catering to men and/or women, church groups, red haired persons, businesses and other groups existed. The Siuslaw Rod & Gun Club was among these many organizations that provided entertainment to the community. Starting in 1928 and continuing into the 1930’s the Club hosted numerous banquets and picnics. The Siuslaw Oar in an August 24, 1928 article reported the Club became affiliated with the Oregon Game Protective Association. Following the meeting a program of music was provided by Mrs. Kyle and Mrs. Ponsler: violin solo by Irma Kyle with Mrs. Ponsler accompanist. (The Club drops it’s affiliation with the Oregon Protective Game Assoc. a couple of years later because of dues issues) A newspaper article dated June 21, 1929 stated that the Club will hold it’s third annual get-acquainted banquet on the 23rd at the Hotel Florence. An October 28, 1931 article reports on a meeting held at Slonikers Resort at which Members and guests, accompanied by their wife’s, had a luncheon and dancing following the meeting. An August, 1933 event described as an “outing and dinner” featured a horseshoe contest, baseball, and rifle shooting. The Club’s “6th Annual Outing” was reported on in an August 1934 article where prizes were given for rifle shooting at 50 and 100 yards. A November, 1937 article is the first mention of an annual “Turkey Shoot” which became an annual event. Trapshooting was started in February of 1938 and became another regular event at the Club. Club Members participated in the “Oregonian Telegraphic” trapshooting contest. This event was sponsored by the Oregonian newspaper with 29 Clubs around the State participating. Each club would shoot on their own grounds and telegraph the results to the Oregonian. The Club also participated in Telegraphic contests in 1939 and 1940. The Club hosted the second annual Pacific International Trapshooting Association event in May of 1939. The Siuslaw Oar also reported in 1939 that dial telephones would be coming to Florence.
The coming of World War II saw a gradual slowing of events at the Club. An article dated June 11, 1943 stated that the Club was starting it’s 17th year but because of wartime restrictions the Club had discontinued holding monthly meeting during the past year. Quarterly Club Meetings were instigated in 1943. In March of 1945 the Club resumed holding monthly meetings. The end of WWII also saw a drive to increase the Club’s Membership. The Club, along with local businesses sponsored a Siuslaw River Salmon Derby in the Fall of 1945. The Rules for the Derby were published in the Siuslaw Oar on August 31, 1945. Official weighting places were: Sanborn’s Dock, Florence Boat Livery, and the Colombia River Packers plant at Cushman (none of which now exist). The Grand Prize was two $100.00 War Bonds. Neill McGaffey of Van Nuys, California took first prize with a 22 pound, 5 ounce silver. The Grand Chinook prize of a $50 War Bond was won by Floyd Watson of Florence with a 38 pound. fish. Boris Karloff (the actor best known for his role in the 1931 movie, Frankenstein) registered for the Derby but apparently did not place. (Boris Karloff and his wife owned property near the Siltcoos Outlet)
High on the Club’s agenda in the 1930’s was finding a permanent location for the Club to hold meetings. Club meetings were conducted at various locations around the Florence area: I.O.O.F. Hall, Mitchell Camp at Woahink Lake, Slonicker Camp at Tachkeaitch Lake (arrangements were made to hold the ferry for the return trip, there was no bridge over the Siuslaw River in 1932), American Legion Hall, G.E. Gibbs home at Cushman, Auto Camp of J.C. Herrent on Mercer Lake, Dean Brothers Camp on Tackenitch Lake, Sea Lion Resort, and Liberty Hall were some of the meeting places.
First mention of building a clubhouse was in a November 14, 1930 article which stated that $50 had been raised toward the project. A November 27, 1931 article reports on investigation of a clubhouse site on Lilly Lake. A January, 1935 article about the monthly Club meeting reported that the clubhouse was discussed but no action was taken. On November 1, 1935 an article reported that: “a committee was in action, funds have slowly been accumulated, and reasonable down payment could be made on a site”. A May 1, 1936 article reported that the Club had become Incorporated. On July 24, 1936 the Siuslaw Oar reported that a committee to purchase a clubhouse site has been appointed. An October 23, 1936 article reported that sufficient funds and credit had been secured to build a clubhouse, and the Club was “one of the most progressive organizations on the coast for advancement of nice clean sport on the twenty odd lake in the vicinity”. A January 1, 1937 Siuslaw Oar article listing locally made improvements in the past year listed the “rod and gun club, $1700.00”. Among the improvements the Club reported in a January 29, 1937 newspaper article were: placing a water supply, work on the front porch, and the purchase of two automatic traps. As a side note, the Highway 101 bridge over the Siuslaw River was also dedicated in 1936. On May 21, 1937 a deed was recorded showing the Club’s purchase of six acres from Lexie & Catherine Basford; this property was along Munsel Lake Road. A July 1938 article reported that the Club made it’s last payment on the grounds and clubhouse building.
CLUB ACTIONS & ACTIVITIES
The Club’s activities after it’s formation focus mainly of concerns about the fisheries in the region. By January 1929 the Club had passed a resolution asking for the closure of Tackenitch, Siltcoos, Buck, Munsel, Ackerly, Clear, and Collard Lakes from March through June for the protection of bass. In January, the matter was discussed with the local Representative, who was asked to introduce legislation to that effect at the next secession. At the same time the Club also voted to close the Siuslaw for five years for the exclusive fishing of steelhead. In January, 1934 the Club passed a resolution recommending that a number of feeder steams to larger lakes (?) along the coast be closed to fishing. At the May, 1934 meeting the issue of steelhead being declared a game fish and the construction of a fish ladder on Lake Creek near Triangle Lake was discussed. At a November 1934 meeting the Club recommended (to the Game Commission) that the entire length of Fiddle Creek and Maple Creek be closed from November 1st to the opening of the general fishing season (April 1st). In January, 1935, the Club passed a resolution favoring the elimination of all fixed salmon gear, except nets) in Oregon waters. The resolution was forwarded to the Game Commission and Lane County Legislatures. In September, 1935 it was reported that thru the influence of the Club over 180,000 fish had been planted in area lakes.
In a special meeting on January 7, 1937 the Club adopted a resolution favoring the closing of the Siuslaw River to all commercial net fishing above Duncan Slough due to depletion in commercial and game fish. However, at a later January meeting, the Club decided that with proper regulation, it would not be necessary to close the Siuslaw River to commercial net fishing. Note: There was a bill pending in the State Legislature that would close rivers, except Columbia, to commercial net fishing. (seems there was some objection of local commercial fishermen to the Clubs initial resolution!) It was later reported that a delegation from Mapleton proposed legislation that opposed the closure; the bill was eventually tabled. In a March 12, 1937 Letter to the Editor, the Club bitterly chastised the commercial fisherman for their actions on the closure issues. In December of 1937, the Club met with the Pacific Coast Fisherman’s Union to discuss changes to commercial fishing on the Siuslaw River. It was reported that there were also many in attendance from Mapleton. The Siuslaw local (Club ?) went on record as favoring closing commercial fishing during July and December and eliminating set net fishing altogether except from May 15th to July 1st. The Fisherman adopted a resolution requesting the State Fish Commission establish a hatchery on Siuslaw or it’s tributaries.
In an April 7, 1939 article about the release of special “tagged” cutthroat trout, anglers were requested to report on the tag number and information to the Club. The Club would then forward the information to the Game Commission.
In November of 1929, the Club offered a bounty of 50 cents for horned owls killed in the Florence area. It was thought that the owls were having a negative impact on quail, turkeys and guinea foul. The Club had been successful in having a turkey and guinea foul “planting” in the last few months.
“PRIZES TO BE GIVEN OF KILLING SHAGS” was a headline in the July 1, 1938 Siuslaw Oar. The Club was offering $25, $15, and $10 prizes for killing “Shags” otherwise known as Cormorants. The contest was open until July 1st of the next year. Permission was required from owners of resorts or steams. Data on habitat and fish found in them was required. Heads were to be brought to the Chairman (Shag Killing Chairman ?) who would submit details for Club Records. It was noted that Shags were thought to eat their weight in fish and that an effort years ago to dynamite their nests met with some success but interest lagged.
In April of 1931 the Club passed a resolution favoring a County Road from the North Fork to Highway 101 via Munsel Lake.
At a May, 1933 meeting of the Club, the problem of illegal night hunting (spot-lighting) of deer was discussed. A proposal to empower Club members as game wardens was voted down. Public shaming however seemed to be ok: “A report was made that a flagrant violator. who in his night hunting, has shot struck was himself quite seriously wounded. Names were not mentioned but the speaker said the whole story would leak out in time”.
In October 1938 the Club adopted a resolution requesting a State Police Officer be permanently assigned to Florence.
A December 2, 1938 article appeared about the Club having a chicken and turkey shoot. The article states that this has been an annual event for the last two years and there has been considerable interest in the shoot. The contest was open to rifle and pistol fans, if requested. The annual Turkey Shoot was a Club event until it was discontinued in 2014.
CLUB OFFICERS AND COMMITTEES
The first mention of Club Officers was in an August 1928 article which stated Earl Hill was President and “Ponsler” as Secretary. Note: there is some discrepancy as a later Siuslaw Oar article states that Larry Derrin has been President since the Club’s beginning
In 1929 Larry W. Derrin, was President. He served in this capacity thru 1945. Among the early Officers were: Galen Morse, Vice President, Chas. Brown, Secretary, and D. M. Kyle, Treasurer. In December of 1931 the following were elected: C.G. Sweet, Vice President, Fred E. Hewitt, Secretary, and Earl H. Hill, Treasurer. The following were elected for 1936: C. G. Sweet, Vice President L. R. Swarthout, Secretary and, A.E. Neilson, Treasurer. Officers for 1937 were: C. W. Fuller, Vice President, Ralph Hoberg, Secretary, and A.E. Neilson, Treasurer. For 1939 Gilbert Houghton was Vice President, other Officers remained the same. 1940 Officers were: Ralph Hoberg, Vice President, Harry Seymoore, Secretary, and L. R. Swarthoaut, Treasurer. In 1942 the Officers were: Ralph Hoberg, Vice President, Harry Seymoore, Secretary, and A.E. Neilson, Treasurer. For 1945 Emmett Reindl was listed as a Trustee. Elected in December for the year 1946 were: E. W. Reindl, Vice President, Ralph Horberg, Secretary, A. E. Neilson, Treasurer, and G. Kimble, Trustee.
Various Committees were utilized by the Club. In 1929 there was Fish Restoration, Game Restoration, Pollution, Cooperation with Farmers, Publicity, and Auditing Committees. In 1932 an Entertainment Committee is listed. In 1933 a committee was formed to report on the Lake Creek hatchery. A Clubhouse committee is reported in 1935. In 1937 a “Shoots” committee and Membership Committees are active. In 1940 a Rifle/Pistol Committee was formed.
May 1931 – 50
March 1933 – 40
April 1933 – 50
May 1934 – 50
August 1934 – 145
December 1944 – 44
March 1945 – 40
April – 1945 – 100
If anyone has photographs of the Club or Club activities during this time period please contact Bruce Mower (club Secretary) at 541 902-7708.
Next installment will cover the years of 1946 to 1963.