History of the Conservation Club:
In 1938, 23 members from the City of Eaton Rapids established the Eaton County Conservation League. Remember, this was shortly after the Great Depression. The taking of fish and wild game was essential food stock for most families. By Laws with 4 articles were drawn up, the first Board of Director elections were held in Oct. 1940. Five members were elected for a 2-year term. Five more were elected in Jan. 1941, for a total of 10 Board Members. The first known President was John J. Miller. Dues were $1.00/year.
After WW2, with membership increasing, a Constitution and associated By Laws were developed in Jan. 1947 changing the name to Eaton Rapids Conservation Club. The club was incorporated in Feb. 1947 as a nonprofit group. Then President, Wayne Gibson, named L.F. Baldwin of 725 Water St. as the Resident Agent for the Corporation. The submitted nonprofit report for 1948 reported 185 members.
The original property measured approx. 610 ft. along 5-Point Hwy. and approx. 390 ft. along Freeman Rd. A Club House was proposed in Jan. 1949. A bid submitted by Hamill Mfg. Co. for $2,980 was rejected as too expensive. The members sought cabin plans from the US Forest Service and felt they could raise the money by other means. In March 1951, member T. H. Lyon offered the Club all the timber they would need from his property in Atlanta, Mich. To construct a log cabin type of Club House of approx. 18 x 30/36 ft. A motion to accept Ted’s offer carried. A special meeting was called the next week to complete details and plans. Dec. 6, 1951 eight men traveled North; Ted Lyon, Cleo Rogers, L.F. Baldwin, Clyde Blocher, Joe Crandall, John Hillard, Lloyd and Roy Keller. They hired a local man, Phil Fournier for his horse and tractor and paid him $25 for 3 days work. In 3 days, (Fri., Sat., & Sun.) they processed 97 logs 7 – 14” dia. X 40 – 50’ long, all trimmed, stacked, and covered for winter. Three Saturdays, June 16, 23, and 30, Clifford Wilson’s truck brought all the logs back. Membership was 405 in December 1952. Money was raised by selling the logs for $10 donations. One log may have had many buyers.
We are not just a gun club. We offer our building to many community organizations, police departments and youth groups. Many of the police departments use our range for training. We also have a free community Easter Egg Hunt . We hold hunter safety classes and women's handgun safety classes for no charge. We have the club house available for memorial lunches. We are a 501c nonprofit. We are working on CPL classes in the near future.
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