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THE SAN FERNANDO VALLEY SPORTSMEN'S CLUB Club History 1938 to 2009

On August 22, 1938 in response to an invitational article appearing in the Studio City News, a group of twelve men met at the La Fonda Inn in Studio City and formed The Studio City Sportsmen Club, later to be known as The Valley Sportsmen's Club and finally THE SAN FERNANDO VALLEY SPORTSMEN'S CLUB. At that meeting, Stephen DaCosta presented the proposed name, emblem, Constitution and by-laws outlining the general aims and purposes of the new organization. These were all adopted as proposed. Stephen DaCosta became the first president and the organization proceeded. Scheduling of hunting, fishing, boating and camping trips began immediately

On December 17, 1938 the club was certified by the State Of California as a non-profit corporation. During that brief four month period the club membership had grown to more than 200 and included sportsmen from the entire Son Fernando Valley.

Meetings were held twice a month at various restaurants and night clubs, La Fonda Inn, Hank's Green Acres, and White's Log Cabin being among the most prominent. That continued until December 8, 1941, when the first meeting was held at the American Legion Hall in Van Nuys.

World War II curtailed club activities considerably but local events such as picnics, trap shoots, casting tournaments and Christmas parties continued to be scheduled through the war years.

Although it had been considered several times it was not until 1942 that it was decided to establish a building fund to purchase property for a clubhouse. It was at that time that raffles began to occur using hunting and fishing equipment as prizes. The profits from these raffles purchased Government Bonds as an investment, the return of which would go towards the building fund.

In 1944 a joint Dinner-Dance was held with the North Hollywood Sportsmen's Club. That was the beginning of the Annual Dinner-Dance tradition that heralds the installation of new officers & the presentation of trophies to members that have excelled in hunting, shooting and fishing during the previous year.

In 1948 the club purchased a 324' by 426' piece of property located on the east side of Coldwater Canyon Avenue, between Oxnard and Burbank Boulevard. Coldwater Canyon was at that time a dirt road winding along the Tujunga wash.

After Coldwater Canyon was paved the club submitted plans to the Los Angeles Building Department for a building to be erected on the site along with requests for a zoning variance. The rezoning was delayed until 1951 when it was ultimately rejected.

Every cloud does have a silver lining and in 1952 the property was sold for five times the amount of the original investment. The profits where put to immediate use with the purchase of five acres located in the 7900 block between Ventura Canyon and Woodman Avenue.

On July 27th, 1953 we held a ground breaking ceremony to start construction of the new clubhouse. With the help of donated labor that included: carpenters, masons, plumbers, plasterers and painters construction was completed in less than a year. On June 28,1954 we held the first meeting in our new clubhouse and celebrated the event by having a venison barbecue diner. For the next ten years the property was used not only for regular and Board Of Directors meetings but also for dances, picnics, barbecues, wedding receptions and casting tournaments.

The club had originally planned to rent The Club House to outside interests to obtain additional income. Unfortunately, a permit to do that was not granted by city officials. To reduce the mortgage payments it was decided to subdivide the property and sell 2� (two and one half) acres. Fifty (50) Life Time Memberships at $100.00 each where also issued at the same time.

In 1954 it was deemed necessary to assess each member an additional $40.00 to replenish the club treasury. This proved to be unpopular and the club lost 100 card carrying members, leaving 150 Regular and 50 Life Time Members.

During The Club House years the annual picnic was held there with a deep pit barbecue being the major food of the day. Some year's there where monthly dances in The Club House which was also available to members for private parties. The Club House was very large (10,000 square feet) with a full kitchen, club room with a fireplace and small living quarters for a housekeeper. The club was decorated in hunting and fishing style with mounted big game trophies on the wall.

Each year, due to increases in taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc. The club was slowly getting behind in it's tax payments. Given little option in 1964, the membership voted to accept an offer of $150,000.00 for the property. After satisfying the accumulated debts (late taxes, escrow, etc.) The club had a net of $135,000.00 which it invested in stocks, bonds and savings accounts.

Meetings began being held at the Van Nuys Elks Lodge where they were held until January 1994.

Since it's creation the club has had a variety of activities for the members to take part in, the following is a list of some of those activities. A Baseball team, Bowling team, Archery, Camping trips, Camper/Motor Home/Trailer trips, Dune Buggy's, Off Road Vehicles, trips to Dodger baseball games & to the Race Track. Poker games, annual picnics, past president nights, father and sons nights, Christmas nights for the kids. Annual opening day trout fishing trips, Dove hunting, Saturday night dancing during the club house era, Fly Fishing and Casting contests, Hunter safety courses, Fish fries in The Club House, annual boating trips to Colorado river, Rifle and pistol shoots, Deer hunting trips. Trail clearing in the Angeles National forest, Deep sea charter trips, we even had one of our members go sky diving (Mike Kenny) and last but not least, trap shooting and the Round Robin.

Over the years many of our members have taken fishing hunting trips out of state or country.

The 1994 earthquake damaged the Elk's Lodge in Van Nuys and the club moved to restaurant in North Hollywood from February to October. Next the club moved to V.F.W. Lodge in Canoga Park and then to the Elks Lodge in Son Fernando until March of 2000. During this period the club was experienced a decline in members and a proposal was made to merge with the North Hollywood Sportsmen's Club. After much discussion cooler heads prevailed and the members stepped forward to maintain the club. Shortly after that, in March of 2000 the club moved to the Oak Tree Gun Club which is where meetings were held until December 2004. In 2002 the club purchased one fifth of the Indian Canyon Shooting Ranges. Presently club meetings are being held at the Indian Canyon Shooting Range on the fourth Sunday of the month.

The Club's remarkable success for 66 years is due to its strict adherence to the club's founding principles. These T. have resulted in the formation of a group in which good fellowship and true sportsmanship are thoroughly exemplified.

The club has always been a small group of men who gathered together for camaraderie of those who shared a common interest. Club members names where well known among the families and the members social life was centered on club activities. It can be said that members where dedicated to helping one another when a member was down on his luck.

The past membership has included men from all walks of life including a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Politicians, Actors Doctors, Lawyers, Plumbers, Electricians, Meter Readers, Entrepreneurs and dare I say it, Indian Chiefs. Truly they all shared one common trait in a uncommon world, that of true Sportsmen.

 



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