As indicated on the Club
emblem, the Fairfield County Fish and Game Protective Association, Inc. was
founded on November 25, 1907. The Association was incorporated in 1939. Over the
years the Club has had the benefit of many dedicated, hard working and
distinguished members. During the period from 1917 to 1937, a few of the more
active club members included state game wardens. One of these wardens was Mr. A.
Joseph Williamson who, while acting as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Club for
almost ten years, also became the first Chief Game Warden for the State of
Connecticut. According to information in copies of Club minutes, Mr. Al Eccles
was also a very active member and past President of the Club. Mr. Eccles became
a Connecticut State Senator while he was a member of the Club and his son, Al
Eccles Jr., was a Life member of the Club until his death in the late 1980's.
During the early years of the
club, members were very active in assisting the state Fish and Game Department
with the stocking offish and game throughout Fairfield County. For many years,
the Club purchased "cans" of trout from the state hatcheries and released the
fish in a number of streams including the Pepper Street Brook, Halfway River,
Patterson Brook, Pumpkin Brook, Cross Highway Brook, Far Mill River, Great
Hollow Brook, Booth Hill Brook and the Saugatuck River in addition to Taunton
Pond in Newtown.
Often, during the late spring,
club members would either be given or would purchase $100 worth of young
pheasants from the State and release them "in open country" from Monroe to
Fairfield. The minutes of the club meetings indicate that the club members were
very aware of game populations in the area and at one time, encouraged the state
Fish and Game Department to close the "partridge" season so that the birds would
have a chance to reproduce. There are reports in club minutes that Club members
were fairly successful in harvesting quail in areas of Fai1field County during
the late 1920's. Members also attempted to obtain rabbits from the state for
stocking. In 1929, it was illegal and considered by Club members to be "damn
poor sportsmanship" to shoot hen pheasants in Connecticut.
The club members have always
been very active in organizing social events. During the 1920's and 30's, the
members held yearly club banquets at the Stratified Hotel in Bridgeport. In
1928, it was reported that there were 376 members and guests present at the
banquet. These banquets were considered to be a major event and often included a
number of state and local officials as guests. Even though the Club members were
very active, they did operate with a limited budget. In 1925, it was reported
that the club treasury contained $536. At that time, the Club did not own any
land and dues were $1 per year.
Another event that became
popular was an "annual summer outing" for all members, their families and
guests. For a few years, the club members utilized the facilities of the Mohegan
Rod and Gun Club in Huntington for the summer outings and there are reports that
over 300 people attended these events. During the 1920's and 30's, the state
Fish and Game Department also sponsored outings and members of many fish and
game clubs were invited. This club sponsored a number- of teams for competitive
events such as rowing, distance bait casting, accuracy; fly-casting and horse
shoe matches in addition to skeet and trap shooting. A notable event in club
history was the first annual F.C.F. & G.P.A. skeet shoot that was held at the
Remington Arms Lordship Gun Club facilities on September 28, 1930. Records
indicated that the annual skeet shoots were a popular event for many years.
Over the years, the club's
monthly meetings have been held in a number of different places. For many years,
members met in the Stratfield Hotel. At one time, Remington Arms offered the use
of their "club house" on the comer of Boston and Seaview Avenue in Bridgeport.
During the early 1960's, meetings were held in the Knights of Columbus hall on
Park Avenue in Bridgeport. Finally, after the main clubhouse was suitably
modified, the meetings were held on Club grounds as they are now. It was not
uncommon for nearly 200 members to be present at club meetings in the 1930's but
meetings today rarely have more than 100 members present. The Club had one
interesting meeting in 1937 when the members voted NOT to allow women as members
in the Club and at the same meeting, voted to allow "colored folks" as members.
The original parcel of property presently owned by the Club
was purchased from the Berkshire Rod and Gun club in 1949 with the help of Mr.
Doc Skerlick, a distinguished Life Member of the Club. The purchase consisted
of about 160 acres, including the "87 acres" at the eastern end of the property,
and cost the members $12,000. A few years later, approximately 30 acres were
purchased, from the Hayes family and sometime after, another parcel of about 20
acres was purchased from the Hunter, family. The Hunter property was located
northeast of the present skeet fields. In 1990, the last parcel of 22+ acres was
purchased, from Alberta Twist for $410,000. The Twist parcel extended from Great
Ring Road towards the clubhouse to the border of the Hayes parcel. When the
original property was purchased, there was a clubhouse next to the Halfway River
that was used for many years by the members until it was destroyed by fire in
the early 1970's. The present clubhouse was built during the late 1950's using
lumber that was salvaged from the 1-95 construction sites. This facility has
been modified and added to over the years to accommodate the growing needs of
the Club. The majority of the skeet and trap, facilities presently used by the
members were also built during the late 1950's.