In The Beginning
The Blue Ridge Sportsmen’s club was established in 1949. On the 18th day of March, 1949 an application was made to the Court for a Charter for Blue Ridge Sportsmen’s Association, Inc. (BRSA), and presented to the court were the proposed Articles of Incorporation together with proof of publication of notice of intention to apply for a Charter as required by law. The founding fathers of the BRSA were decided by a group of men sitting around a showroom at the Big Keystone Garage in Blue Ridge Summit, PA. At the time it was a working garage belonging to L.H. Warner. During the hunting season of 1948 the founding fathers decided to move forward with the project in the spring, setting the dues at $2, and admitting anyone for membership.
Growing the club
For the next three years the meetings were held at the garage and included fifty members. The money that was collected was used to buy two small farms at Friends Creek for $1,000. Plans that were made to build a clubhouse on the property never happened. Later, in 1952, while Cortright was club president, the Hardman farm came up for sale for $10,000. It was proposed that the club should buy the farm and members voted to sell the two farms at Friends Creek and buy the Hardman farm. Work progressed very slowly for the next year. The rifle range was built next by the Waynesboro Rifle Club to hold matches in the summer. The baseball field was built by H.C. Bridgers for the Summiteers team. Lakes were built in 1953 and the trap range was built the following year. Around 1959 the old farmhouse was torn down but the original barn was left standing.
Expanding the facilities
In 1964, twenty-eight more acres were added to the club below the barn. The pool was built in 1967 as a money-maker, but never made a dime! After the first five years the board wanted to bulldoze it shut, but that never happened. In the late 1970s, the club obtained a liquor license as an improvement. At this time the club retained roughly four hundred members. Hardman hall was built, which was followed by the bar as we know it today. The addition of the bar created an influx of memberships. By the end of the 1980’s the club had people waiting in line for applications and had to stop accepting new members. In 1990 an additional ninety acres was purchased, and another lake was added.
When Fort Ritchie closed in 1998, members resigned and the dues increased. At this time, beer prices were raised from $0.75 to $1.00 due to the increased cost of the liquor license. As a club we had it all! Later an addition was made to the barn to make room for the shoots. They rebuilt the three-car garage into a clubhouse and it is still the Director’s Room today. In 2005 we added even more acreage to the club which included the camping areas and a new pavilion. The names of the individuals that donated the money towards the original Friends Creek farm can be found on a stone in the clubhouse yard located beside the flagpole.