DCFSA History

The Beginning Of The Organization

The beginning of the organization of sportsmen that was to become one of the largest and diversified clubs in the Delaware Valley, was in November, 1938. Outdoor columnist Bill Everman, was writing about hunting and fishing for two local papers, The Chester Times and Interboro News. In a series of articles, he stirred a few local sportsmen into forming a club for the purpose of raising and stocking fish and wild game and to enjoy shooting shotguns, rifles and pistols in an area out in the country, away from the local villages.

First Meeting, March 1939 

Bill’s offer to help in any way that he could was immediately taken by several interested sportsmen in the area. A few weeks later, at a meeting in Bill’s home with the local outdoorsmen, Nick Young, Dick Newman, Harry Sauers and Leroy, “Shorty ” Manning, plans were made to organize a local club. At that time they decided to name the club The Delaware County Field and Stream Association.

Club Officers Elected

On the first Monday evening in March, 1939, thirty – five sportsmen met in the garage of Griffith’s Funeral Parlor in Norwood. Seated on coffin boxes and other makeshift seats, the group made their first major decisions and elected club officers. Bill Everman was elected president with Harry Sauers vice president, Dick Newman secretary and Al Deger treasurer.

Annual Dues and Meeting Place Established

The annual dues were set at one dollar per member and a membership drive was immediately organized. After a month, the group had grown to over 100 members and the meeting place had become too small to hold them. The meeting place was moved to the Norwood Grammar School for several months and with the ever expanding membership, they decided to use the Norwood Fire Company’s hall. This was the club’s meeting place for the next twenty years.

By Laws Adopted

With the club firmly organized, it was decided that permanent bylaws should be adopted. It was unanimously decided by the members at that time, that no intoxicating liquors would ever be bought, sold or be dispensed or possessed at any club function or on the club’s property.

Incorporation As Non-profit, Conservation 1940

The club became incorporated in March, 1940 as a nonprofit, conservation organization. The purposes of the organization, as stated in its charter are: “To stimulate the interest of the people of Delaware County in general outdoor activities and to develop the opportunities for the enjoyment of such recreation by the restocking of fish and game, the procurement of laws and enforcement thereof for the protection of wildlife; and to educate the general public in the principles of conservation in relation to our natural resources; all by publicity, exhibitions and public meetings; and for these objects to organize as a group for their earlier attainment.

Dues Structure Established

The dues structure that was established at that time was that the money could not be used for anything other than conservation related activities. Membership dues, as it was known then, has risen from its original one dollar rate to its present rate of over ten dollars. However, in recent years the membership classification has been changed to Conservation Member


First Field Day, 1939


In May 1939, the newly formed organization held its first field day on a farm owned by club member, Chris Walters in Elwyn. The members and guests enjoyed rifle, pistol, archery and trap shooting in the all day event. The day’s activities brought in a profit of over $100 and at the next meeting $50 was allocated for the purchase of game for restocking open land in Delaware County.


Permanent Club Grounds Sought


The interest and good fellowship generated by the first field day event aroused the members to seek a permanent club site. A search for available land was organized and they soon found a large tract of land in Middletown Township which was owned by John Chatley. The sportsmen negotiated with the owner and arranged to lease part of the land with an option to purchase it at a later date.


Property Purchased In 1942


After renting the property for 3 years, it was decided to purchase it and in 1942 the club obtained the 40.83 acres for the total sum of $5,500. Soon after that, the members decided that they required a good access road to the property and had to borrow $7,500 to have one built. It was a good road and has lasted all of these years as the main access to the club grounds.


First Shooting Facilities Installed


On the newly purchased land the members installed a trap field, a rifle range, trout rearing pens and a club house, all built with their own willing hands. They worked hard at their new club site and soon enlarged the club house, installed a 100 yard and 200 yard rifle range, a smallbore rifle range, pistol range and added two 16 yard traps and two skeet layouts. Later, a roof was built over the high power rifle range and a garage and lunch counter were added.


Club Grounds Leads To Growth


With the completion of the entrance road and more improvements to the club grounds, the members began to schedule regular field days and shooting contests and sportsmen flocked to the area to participate. Many large events were held with prizes of all kinds, including a new automobile, going to the winners. Much profit was made from the shoots and it did not take too long to repay the loans and the club property was clear of all debts.


Members Active During World War II


During the war years of 1942 to 1945, the members were active in assisting local farmers who were in need of help, to harvest their crops. This created a mutual friendship and understanding between landowners and sportsmen that eventually became a larger cooperative activity. Project 83, the first and only farm-game project in Delaware County, was the result of many friendly contacts that were made by club members.


Junior Membership Established


In 1945 the club decided to accept junior membership in the organization and to develop a youth program as part of the club’s endeavors. The annual Junior Field Day was established with the winners of the events for that day being awarded a three day, expense paid fishing and conservation seminar. The annual Campfire of The Brotherhood of The Junglecock was selected to be the hosts for the young members’ outing. This annual event has been a major project for the organization every year since that time.


School Teachers Sponsored For Conservation Course


Beginning in 1945 and up to the early 1970’s, the club sponsored and paid for a school teacher in the Delaware County School District to attend a two week course about conservation during the summer at Pennsylvania State University. In addition,several junior members of high school age were selected to attend the university to learn about conservation. Both of these activities have since been curtailed because of high costs and an absence of interest that would warrant a continuance.


Archery Field Course Added


In 1951, archery which had only been a token sport in the club, was seriously considered as another major activity that would attract more members. A few expert archers from other areas were invited into the club to expand the sport. These few archers built the first 28 target field archery course on the club grounds.


New Leadership And Improvements


During the period between 1945 and 1955, the club existed with makeshift ranges. Facilities without water, electricity or phones and a basic nucleus of hard working members managed to perform the needed services to keep the club alive and solvent. Beginning in the late 1950’s, a new generation of sportsmen gradually took over leadership and instituted a few changes that helped to improve the organization.


Pipelines Cause End Of Trout Rearing


Because of several pipelines built across the club property, the trout rearing pens built for members use in the 1940’s, had to be closed. With this loss of facilities, the club had to seek other means to contribute and help to provide better fishing in the county. Beginning in 1953, and continuing each year, the organization purchases several thousands dollars worth of legal size trout for restocking in the local streams.


Trout Buttons Established To Defray Costs


In the mid-1960’s, a program was developed that would bring in additional funds to help defray costs of purchasing trout for restocking. By selling “Booster Buttons” each year, the Fish Committee of the organization augments the annual budgeted funds allocated for trout stocking.


First Range Fees Established


In 1957 the first range fee of one dollar additional to all shooting members was established. There was also an additional fee of fifty cents for junior members who used the ranges. These range fees were to go into an earmarked fund in the Ways and Means Committee for use in improving the ranges and maintenance of the the club grounds and facilities. At that time, a guest fee of fifty cents was also initiated, charged to all non-members who came to the club grounds to use the ranges.


Accounting And Budget System Organized


The period between 1957 and 1960 produced a few changes in some areas that had been handled casually by volunteer help. A new accounting system was adopted; annual budgets were established for all committees; a membership committee was organized and new rules for the collection of fees and dues were initiated.


Progress And Improvement


From 1960 to 1965 the club showed much improvement and progress. A home was built on the club grounds to house a permanent custodian; the club’s bylaws were revised and updated; and the annual Conservation Award was instituted. It was also during this period that the club’s membership dues and range fees were increased to offset the rising costs of operation. By 1965 the dues and fees were adjusted to a combined total of $7.00 annually for adult membership with shooting privileges.


Soil Conservation District Influenced By Club


In the mid 1960’s, the club became interested in obtaining a Soil Conservation District for Delaware County. By using publicity and promotion in the Club News and obtaining the cooperation of other local organizations, the achievement of a County District was finally established in 1970.


Jeffords Estate Becomes State Park


During the 1960’s, the organization worked diligently to convince both state officials and general public of the necessity of acquiring the long dormant Jefford’s Estate for use as a State Park. Finally, after years of effort by sportsmen, Ridley Creek State Park became a reality in Delaware County.


National Hunting and Fishing Day:


A National Holiday Began In The Club


An annual club event known as Sportsmen’s Day, which began in the early years and was continued into the 1970’s, was the beginning of what was to become the National Hunting and Fishing Day all over the U.S. The idea was to set aside a special day for all sportsmen and women to show the public what they do. The idea was expanded and soon it took hold all over the state of Pennsylvania. Former club president, Ira Joffe, who conceived the idea first, and promoted it, was invited to the official signing of the state proclamation that made it the first statewide Sportsmen’s Day. A year later the idea was taken to the national government and it was proclaimed as National Hunting and Fishing Day to be celebrated annually. It all began here in Delaware County!


Additional Land Purchased


The decade of 1965 to 1975 was the period of most improvement for the club since its beginning years. In 1967, 14.9 acres of additional land was purchased from a bordering neighbor. The rifle ranges were rebuilt with new range houses and backstops; and a new safety baffle system was installed on both the pistol and high power rifle ranges. The black powder range, which had been added in the mid 1950’s, was improved with adequate backstops and a baffle system. Target storage and stat – offices were constructed at the pistol, archery and shotgun ranges. The dues and fees were increased to $15, and two years later, in the face of increasing expenses and liabilities, they were again raised to a total of $25.


Tinicum Marsh Project Pioneered By Club


Early in the 1970’s, the organization became active in the movement to preserve the Tinicum Marsh area as a wildlife preserve. By enlisting the aid of other organizations and individuals, the final goal of establishing the marsh area as a wildlife sanctuary was achieved.


New Club House And Facilities


In 1971-72, another major range rebuilding program was begun which included a new club house and trap and skeet fields. It was at this time that the club was the recipient of the NRA’s “Best Achievement Award.” which is presented each year to the outstanding club in the nation for showing the most progress.


Fish Committee Promotes Stream Improvement


The club’s Fish Committee, after successfully completing a dam building project on Darby Creek in the 1960’s, decided to concentrate more effort on cleaning up the portion of Chester Creek that flows past the club grounds. During the early 1970’s, the committee convinced the Pa. Fish Commission to provide more trout in the cleaner waters which would benefit all local fishermen.


Meeting Place Changed To Club House


Monthly meetings of the members were held in various places over the years. The Norwood Fire Company hall was the first large area used and after that, the Collingdale Fire Co. No. 2 on MacDade Boulevard for about 20 years. For a short time, in 1976-77, the Green Ridge Fire Company was used and finally, beginning in January, 1978, the newly built club house became the meeting hall for all club meetings.


Club Management Becomes Professional


In the mid-1970’s and progressing each year, changes in the management of club affairs became more professional and business oriented. Over the years the organization had assumed many financial responsibilities making it mandatory that a competent record and conduct of club affairs be maintained.


The purchase of additional land with the attendant mortgages coupled with higher income and disbursement of funds, made it neccessary for the club to reorganize its financial affairs. It was during this period, in the 1970’s that the club retained the services of a few members, professionals in their field, who were knowledgeable about insurance, real estate and taxes. Their expertise, coupled with the advice of others whose on building construction, range maintenance and inventory control, contributed strongly to the future success of the organization.


Rebuilding During The 1980’s


At the beginning of the 1980’s, the complete rebuilding of the trap and skeet membership house was a large project. Many club members contributed their time, labor and materials to the project which lowered the cost considerably. The new range house was named the Ed Martin House as a tribute to one member who was an example to others with his leadership and dedication to completing the project.


Additional Land Purchased


In the fall of 1983, the club decided to purchase 9.6 acres of additional land that was for sale by the same neighbor from whom it had purchased land in 1967. Although the price of the land had increased considerably, it was the feeling of a majority of members that the expenditure of $160,000 was worth it in order to provide a buffer zone against the possibility of future encroachment by housing developments. The purchase of the land also included a home which was to be used as a rental property and an additional source of income for the organization.


Higher Costs Cause Dues Increase


Over the years, many of the club’s range facilities required renovation and rebuilding in order to maintain safety and comfort for the members. Ranges such as the high power rifle, black powder and pistol ranges require annual repairs in order to maintain the backstops and baffle systems. The archery range, which in the beginning used earthen butts to stop arrows now requires expensive bales of wood by-products in order to function as a modern safe range. These maintenance items and construction costs along with various other increased costs has caused a gradual increase in range fees.


The dues was increased in 1983 $40 for adult members and $10 for juniors. This increase was deemed necessary in view of the higher costs of maintenance along with the many fees and salaries that were being paid to certain club personnel. Those who receive salaries or are paid for services include the bookkeeper, office cashier, caretaker and trap attendants.


New Ranges For Airguns Installed


In 1985 a new range especially for air rifles was established. This was temporarily installed as part of the smallbore rifle range until a permanent structure and range could be justified. One year later, in 1986, the club’s pistol range also installed a facility for air pistols.


Associate Member Classification


Late in 1986, the Membership Committee proposed a new system for accepting new applicants into the organization which was approved by the Executive and Ranges and Facilities committees. The new procedure stipulated that all new applicants would be accepted under a new designation to be known as “associate.” Associate members could not vote or hold office in the club. However, they could apply to the comittees for an upgrade to regular membership.


50th Anniversary Celebrated


In 1989 the Delaware County Field and Stream Association celebrated its 50th year as an organization for outdoor sportsmen. It looked back at its past 50 years of success and established new goals for the future. The many individuals who had dedicated their time and efforts toward making the organization a success were honored. The list of those so honored included all of the past presidents of the association.


Past Presidents Of The Association


William Everman……………1939-44 Fritz Lechner…………..1969-70


Harry Sauers…………………1945-48 William Perkins……….1971-72


Leroy (Shorty) Manning……1949-52 Robert Livingston…….1973.


Jack Meehla…………………..1953-54 Ira Joffe…………………1974-75


John Crocket………………….1955-56 Bud Feindt…………….1976-77


J. Kenneth Manning…………1957-58 Al Paolone……………..1978


Hank Rosen……………………1959-60 Jim VanValkenburg…1979-80


Ed De Rienze………………….1961-62 Lee Zaffiri………………1981


William Hunter………………..1963 Carmen Cocozza…….1982


Tom Quartermus……………..1964 Tom O’Chuida………..1983-84


Ed Kinden……………………….1965-66 Lance Walser…………1985-86


Jim VanValkenburg………….1967-68 Ken Eckler……………..1987-88


Continued History Of The Association


1989 To 1999


The 60th Anniversary


A Decade Of Rebuilding Begins


In 1989 the club celebrated its 50th Anniversary by designing a commemorative belt buckle for all members to purchase with their own club number stamped on the back. A history of the first 50 years was published and plans were made for the future leading up to the next century.


Many Changes In The 1990’s

The 1990’s brought many new ideas, changes and rebuilding. New volunteers on committees and ranges began a trend to upgrade the organization into a modern well-equipped recreational facility. The membership and range fees were raised from $50.00 to $55.00. That fee has remained the same over the past ten years.


Associate Membership Discontinued

In 1991 the Ranges and Facilities Committee voted to withdraw the Associate Membership category thereby giving every adult member the right to hold office and vote in club elections. A new badge for Range Officers was designed and the new member orientation at each range was abolished.


Conservation Activities

Conservation activities in the club in the 1990’s were as usual a large part of the annual programs. Fish and game stocking, stream improvements and tree planting was programmed each year and with help from members and local Boy Scout troops. Much was accomplished on the club grounds and local streams. Youth education and hunter safety training were given high priority in the annual planning each year. In 1995-96, with new personnel and new ideas, a special fishing day for boys and girls was reorganized and a monthly program of firearms handling and safety was initiated.


New Improvements Installed

During the 1990 decade many new improvements were added including a new roof for the club house and resurfacing of the parking area and entrance road. In 1990 a new tractor was purchased for use by the caretaker. In the spring of 1994 a new garage was built to replace the one that had been used for 30 years. A new electronic cash register was added in 1998.


New Ranges and Additions

In 1991 the 22 Rimfire Rifle Range was reconditioned and a storage shed was built on the parking lot in front of the range. This was for multiple use by the combined Air Rifle, Air Pistol and .22 Rimfire ranges.

The Airgun Field Target Range, built by the members in 1989, was reconditioned and expanded in 1991 to 50 field targets over a 300 yard trail through the club’s unused woods and fields behind the shotgun ranges.


Air Rifle and Air Pistol Range Built

In 1992 a separate range for air rifles and air pistols was built at a cost of approximately $25,000. This combined range for airguns was conceived and planned by the club’s Planning Committee. It was constructed of outdoor grade panelling on a six inch thick concrete slab. Both sides of the range were bordered in with 7 foot high cedar fencing. The building was constructed by a contractor but the interior finishing of the office including paneling, insulation, painting and electrical wiring, was done by various club members who donated their time and labor for the project.


Five Stand Range Built

In April, 1994, a proposal to build an addition to the trap and skeet ranges was authorized. It was named Five Stand as part of the Sporting Clays type ranges. It was built with help from club members and began operation on the Labor Day week-end in 1994. A new committee was formed and members were elected to organize activities for the range.


Airgun Ranges Divided

In November 1995, the Ranges and Facilities Committee decided to divide the Air Rifle and Airgun Field Ranges to make them separate units with individual budgets and range officers. New commercial type field targets were purchased and a large shed was installed near the field range entrance for use as a storage area and headquarters for competitive matches.


Range Participation

Shooting activities and range participation gradually increased among the club’s ranges during the 1990’s. With increased interest in shooting airguns and shooting on Tuesday evenings at the air rifle, and trap ranges; more social events with members; influencing more range officers to schedule competition and to publish it in the Club News, a new breed of shooters began to emerge. Shooting events and training programs for shotgunners were promoted in the Club News and a new generation of competiitive shooters became active along with many veteran members who had lost interest for a few years but had now been inspired to renew it.


Championship Awards

Instituted in 1989, the Annual Club Championships, designated for each range to schedule as they would like, has been influential in producing more participation in range competition. A club jacket was designed especially for the annual award to be presented to the winners of range competition each year. The leaders of each range are authorized to determine how the winners are decided for their range.


The NRA Club Achievement Award 

In the summer of 1998, the Delaware County Field and Stream Association was honored by the National Rifle Association with the Club Achievement Award which was awarded to the club at the NRA’s Annual Meeting held in Philadelphia. The award carried with it a special commendation for the organization’s diversity, community service and dedication to the shooting sports. A large wall plaque commemorating the award was issued to the club.


The Table Trap Range Comes Of Age

The always popular Table Trap Range , a favorite for beginning hunters and youngsters, became more popular during the 1990’s. Beginning in 1991-92 with the installation of new trap machines and a new shooting game which created more interest, the range sponsored monthly contests and training programs for youths and boy scouts.


Firearms Handling And Safety Instruction

In the fall of 1996 a new type of instruction was initiated at the club grounds. Monthly seminars were held at various club ranges. Members and guests of all ages were invited to attend and learn about safety and gun handling from the club expert on each range. At the end of each season, certificates were given to those who had successfully completed the course of instruction. This instruction course gradually became very popular thanks to the knowledgeable instructors from each range along with the capable administration of the NRA appointed instructor.


Hunter Safety Training

The program for training first time hunters as required by the state, has been an ongoing annual project for the club for many years. The chief instructor and a group of qualified instructors, all registered by the state, schedule several training sessions each year. During the 1990’s an average of over 500 potential hunters attended the club sponsored training course each year.

Fishing Information And Instruction

Trout Unlimited, an organization dedicated to the conservation of trout, has contributed considerably to the club in information and education about trout fishing, habitat and proper fishing methods. Meetings are held in the club house each month except July and August. All club members are invited to attend and participate.


Club Grounds Open To Other Organizations

Over the many years as an organization, the Delaware County Field and Stream Association has always been very generous in permitting other groups and organizations to use its ranges and facilities without charge. Local and state police, military units, boy scouts and girl scouts along with other sportsmen’s clubs have all enjoyed the club’s hospitality.


Boy Scouts and the Club

The DCF&S organization has always been partial to the local Boy Scout Troops, permitting them to use the club grounds for camping and other projects. It was in the 1990’s that there was a gradual increase in Boy Scout activities at the club. The local troops have enjoyed using the various ranges for learning how to shoot and merit badge qualifications. Doing a “Good Turn” for the scouts is well appreciated and they often reciprocate with conservation projects such as stream improvements, tree planting and fish stocking.


The Committee Chairman

The chairman of the R & F Committee works closely with the club president as an appointed officer of the club. Under his direction, the leaders of each club range, Chief Range Officers and their assistants, combine their efforts to keep the club grounds an efficient and safe area for all members and their guests. Those leaders of the R & F Committee who managed the affairs of the club grounds during the 1990’s deserve credit for their diligence and dedication to the principles of the organization.

The accomplishments of those chairmen and their committees including the many range officers and others who helped, has been recorded and will be enjoyed for many years by all members. It was a period of much improvement and modernization for the club.


Club Rules Revised

Over the past 10 years, the club’s Range Rules were reviewed and rewritten and published in booklet form for distribution to the members. Because of the additional ranges and many modifications to the rules, it became necessary in 1998 to reissue the rules booklet with the additional rules inserted. Finally, a new, revised booklet of the club’s rules was printed in the spring of 1998.


Ladies Day For Sportswomen

In 1995 an idea that had been proposed several years prior, finally became a reality as the club sponsored a special day for all women to use the club grounds with all types of activities arranged especially for them. Women leaders were appointed and invitations were sent to all members to participate in many events similar to the Junior Field Day procedure. It became a success and Ladies Day became another annual event.


Lifetime Membership Granted

In 1996 a free lifetime membership was awarded to those past presidents of the association who had served a two year term in office. It was also decided that any member who had maintained membership for (50) or more consecutive years be included in receiving a “Gold Card.” The necessary change in the club’s bylaws was made in 1997.


Longevity In The Organization

In 1999 the club will have been in existence for 60 years, more than half of the 20th century. Honorable mention is in order for all of those members who served with pride and dedication on the club’s committees as elected and appointed club officers. To compile a list of all of those faithful members who contributed so much of their time and effort toward making the organization the efficient, self reliant one that it is today, would require several pages of their names and, not to exclude anyone, would be a tremendous task. Let it suffice to say that all of their efforts have fostered and promoted sportsmanship and conservation and created one of the best facilities in the country. The Delaware County Field and Stream Association’s solid foundation was formed by those members.


Club Presidents

The past decade of the 1990’s had six more presidents added to the list of 30 total sportsmen who have led the organization since 1939.Those who served as club president during the 1990’s were:

  • 1989— Bill Mc Coy
  • 1990— Don Hill
  • 1991- 92 Charles Smith
  • 1993- 94 Carmen Martino
  • 1995- 96 Skip Barber
  • 1997- 98 Bud Feindt


The Past And Future

As the club approaches its 60th year anniversary in 1999, it can look back with pride on the progress over the past years. Several generations of sportsmen and sports-women have brought the organization to its 60th birthday healthy and prosperous and ready to head into the 21st Century!

When the founding sportsmen and club officers passed on, others rose to take their places. Each generation contributes to the club’s advancement and continues the dedication to its founding principles.


The Federation Of Sportsmen 

In November 1998, after a long absence, the Delaware County Field and Stream Association made arrangements with the Pa Federation Of Sportsmen’s Club to rejoin that organization and to support it with an appointed representative. The Federation meets several times a year with Fish and Game Commissions and state legislative bodies to discuss the needs of sportsmen in the state. Sportsmen’s clubs from all over the state gather together in Harrisburg to voice their opinions.


The Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers 

The professional writers organization known as The Pa.Outdoor Writers, an organization of artists, photographers, lecturers, writers and editors, has been most influential in building the character of the Delaware County Field and Stream Association. It was through that professional organization in the early days of the club, that a code of ethics and bylaws were organized and its purposes carried out throughout the years by the various editors of the Club News.

The writer’s association also initiated the annual Campfire Of The Junglecock to which DCF&S has subscribed for over 50 years.The dedication of the club’s newly purchased club grounds in the1940’s was honored by the presence of J. Hammond Brown, then president of the national organization of writers. “Ham” Brown dedicated the club’s new house and grounds by reciting the purposes of the association. Those stated purposes are the main guide lines to which the organization still follows.


Club History and The Club News

In the 60 year history of the organization, the monthly news letter, CLUB NEWS, has been the main communication with club members. It has also been a chronicle of club activities and objectives since the beginning years. The first editor was Jack Meehla who produced the first news bulletin and initiated its format and style. This was carried over by Ed De Rienze who was appointed to the position of managing editor in 1963. The first history of the organization was written by Jack Meehla and later revised by Jim VanValkenburg and Bill Hunter in 1962-63. The later histories of 1975, 1989 and the present version were compiled from information that appeared in the Club News during those years.

Ed De Rienze, Publications Chairman