M.L.C.A. History – The First Fifty Years

On the evening of March 18, 1942, a group of local sports-loving citizens of the Oakland County lake area met in the Walled Lake High School gym to start a Sportsman Club. Nearly one hundred and twenty men met to hear Harry Gaines, Executive Secretary of Michigan United Conservation Clubs, explain the need and advantages of such organizations in the State. Following Harry’s talk, Joe Long, temporary chairman, conducted the election of officers and Board of Directors, for a term of six months, and dues were set at one dollar per year. Harry Gaines spearheaded the membership drive by producing a dollar and becoming the first member. Fifty-one others followed his example.

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  • 1942
    President 1942On March 25th, the officers and board members met in the private home of the president-elect, Harry Vreeland, and decided that the club would be known as Inter-Lakes Sportsman Association of Oakland County; that regular meetings would be held on the second Wednesday of each month in a previously designated place; that each person accepted to membership must be male and twenty one years of age; that the club join the MUCC state organization; that all monies be deposited with the Oakland County State Bank of Milford, Michigan; that meetings be held at Twin Beach Country Club until further notice.


    Soon a By-Laws Committee was appointed to draw up a set of flexible laws which were accepted, and the election of the 1942-43 officers (President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer) and Board of Directors was held.


    By May 20 there were 141 members and many committees were formed to promote activities. On April 4 the first annual Banquet was held at the Walled Lake High School.


    March 1942 Charter Members

  • 1943
    President 1943Waldo Proctor became the second President and during his term came our first picnic. Further ground work and a membership that was growing by leaps and bounds, made it necessary to move from one meeting place to another. We finally obtained permission to meet at the Twin Beach Country Club. Twin Beach would only accommodate 300 men so talk started about obtaining a place of our own.
    On May 18, 1943 the name of the Club was changed to “Multi – Lakes Conservation Association of Oakland County”.
    In June, the first delegates were sent to the MUCC annual convention.
    In September, fifty dollars was donated in support of MUCC.
  • 1944-1945
    President 1944-45-49In 1944 Walt Horstman was elected President and together with his very active board, started a campaign to obtain a plot of land. Within three months from the time the land we wanted was located, Horstman had raised the $6,000.00 to pay for it.
    The Board membership was increased to nine members.
    Outgoing President automatically became a member of the Board for three succeeding years. A nine point program was drawn up for the next year.
    1. Continue Carp seining on Walled and Middle Straits Lakes.
    2. Pheasant rearing and stocking. Raising of pheasants from eggs furnished by the State trapping and releasing birds, with approval of the State.
    3. Rabbit rearing and stocking.
    4. Establish suitable range for small bore and big bore rifles, skeet and trap, and pistol.
    5. Establish school for training sportsmen in – fly tying, fly casting, bait casting, rod making, marksmanship, photography, skiing, handicraft, dog training.
    6. Locate and secure building site.
    7. Acquiring a meeting place for committees and storage spot for equipment.
    8. Establish for all time a feeling of brotherhood between sportsmen and farmers.
    9. To have every member know every other member.
    Eighteen members received diplomas from N.R.A.
    Membership limit set at 800 plus members in U.S. Armed Forces.
    Decision to purchase Club site on north end of Reed Lake. 60 acres at a cost of $6,000.00. On first meeting night, $1,510.00 was raised in donations.
    First complimentary membership cards were issued to Jack Van Covering, Sports editor of Detroit Free Press; Don Gillies, Sports editor of Detroit Times; Albert Stoll, Sports editor of Detroit News; Guy Moats, Sports editor of Pontiac Press.
    With the purchase of the new Club Property, work-bees were organized to clean up the grounds and beautify the lake front. The rifle range was set up in the north-west corner and tree planting projects were started.
    Club received its first National Rifle Association Charter. First Club picnic.
    First meeting on Club property (open-air)
    First Hunters Ball, held at the Homestead.
    On An architect was employed to draw up plans for a Club House.
    Paid up mortgage on property was burned on the grounds.
    Dues were raised to two dollars ($2.00) a year and along with the dues, new members were solicited to make a Building-Fund donation of at least twenty dollars.
    A cement block field house was constructed for committee meetings and storage of equipment.
    Acceptance of “Retriever” as Club magazine and to support same with ten cents a copy per member.
    Board action to put 75% of profits from committee functions into the building fund and 25% in the general fund.
    MLCA joined MUCC in a project to raise enough monies to place a state magazine in the hands of each member of associate clubs. Project to be known as “MUCC Award’.
    Board decision to purchase a bar and back bar from the Detroit Yacht Club for $400.00 and place it in storage, pending completion of a clubhouse.
    Board gave the go-ahead on the first of three units in club house design submitted by W. Merle Hogan.

    The following year Horstman was re-elected President and the membership grew so large that we outgrew Twin Beach. Summer meetings were held at the “Homestead” and winter meetings were alternated between Jays and Batchelors East Shore Tavern.
    During this period the first fish fry was brought into its own, and is now one of the Association’s popular money raising affairs. A constitution and bylaws was formally adopted.
    Because of the increasing gun pressure M.L.C.A. set up a farmer relations committee which did a wonderful job under the chairmanship of Joe Long. At the same time Major Bert Kain, together with three other men, set up a rifle committee and youth training program. Our today’s active rifle committee is the result of this early effort.
    Our first Coon Dog Trial was held in July, 1945, and run very efficiently by Carol Robson, Bill King and Albert Richardson. About this time the “Retriever” our club magazine was born and was edited for years by Walt Horstman. A magazine was dropped for a long while until Weldon Payne revived the paper and the name was changed to the “Multi-Laker”. Weldon retired and it was now being edited by Arnold Rahn.
    In July of 1945 M.L.C.A. selected four boys to go to the Michigan Boys Conservation Camp at Higgins Lake. In August active work by the Board toward a Clubhouse was started.
    In January 1946 a pleasant interlude was arranged by Horstman, Parsons and Shives for a wildcat hunt at Atlanta. Thirty couples attended (and what a time)

  • 1946
    President 1946By this time the Rifle Committee was experiencing growing pains and asked the club board of directors for a $500.00 advance to purchase rifles and equipment for an indoor range. They had already received permission to rent the second floor of the old Twin Beach Club House at the north end of Middle Straits Lake. Permission was granted and funds were made available.
    At a special membership meeting, in February, a new set of revised and modernized By-Laws were discussed. They were put together and submitted to the regular membership meeting and unanimously accepted. Installed in these By-Laws, by Board action, was the unanimous agreement that “MLCA Club property cannot be sold or encumbered further in the event of dissolution of the Association at any time – said property shall be conveyed to the State of Michigan Department of Conservation as a game sanctuary.”
    Even though the building of the club house was being held up, due to Government restrictions, events and fund raising projects carried on in great numbers as did the business of the club.
    On August 14th, A dance was sponsored at the Walled Lake Casino which netted $3,123.71 profit. A Plymouth car was first prize.
    Coon dog trials continued to be popular and the hard work necessary to stage them paid off in big profits.
    An Annual Picnic, was held, with side attraction of a rifle shoot.
    Club’s records as a non-profit organization were brought up to date for the Corporate and Securities Commission.
    State Championship Bait and Fly Casting Tournament was held on MLCA grounds. Suitable docks were constructed in the lake. As an added attraction the Detroit Times Dog Trails were also held on the grounds and in neighboring fields.
    During the month of May of this year the Board changed their meeting nights to the first Wednesday after the regular meeting instead of the first Monday.
    In the latter months of 1946, the committees became very active. The Athletic Committee put on several fox hunts, arranged a wild cat hunt, and many turkey shoots. All these events added entertainment for the members as well as increase the monies in the Building Fund.
  • 1947
    President 19471947 saw the club become very prominent in MUCC as a regular financial contributor and enthusiastic participant in State affairs of good conservation.
    Locally, we stocked Reed lake with small mouth-bass, sponsored the release of 300 hatched pheasant, and financed 15 boys and 5 young ladies to the summer camp at Lake Allegan.
    Club improvements and activities included:
    Fifth annual fish fry, March 2nd.
    Present location of Rifle and Archery ranges were set up in present site.
    Trap House was constructed and in operation in May.
    Annual Dance held at Walled Lake Casino Aug. 6.
    Board action installed the present double envelope system of inclosing ballots in annual Club elections.
    Two registered rifle match shoots held on property.
    By August of 1947 the club treasury boasted a total of $14,713.60 on hand.
    Junior Conservation picked up in 1948 with the development of training programs in shooting and the handling of fire arms.