On August 23, 1932, the Silver Lake Rod and Gun Club was started following a supper of 35 Silver Lake community people hosted by Major Lambourn at Camp Red Cloud on Silver Lake.
Mr. J. Townsend Russell explained he wanted to organize a local hunting and fishing club. The purpose was to have land posted throughout the community to protect fish and game and owner property interests from “unprincipled persons coming from places far removed from Silver Lake”. The name of the organization would be Silver Lake Rod and Gun Club.
By November 5, 1932, a Constitution and By-Laws had been generated by a temporary committee and approved. The first Officers and Directors elected were:
President: J. Townsend Russell Vice- President: Andrew G. Patton 2nd Vice Pres : Joe O’Day Secretary: E. L. Barlow Treasurer: C. C. Rose Directors: Asher Hill Phillip Wheaton Ambrose Mahoney J. A. Sweeney
The Silver Lake Cottagers Association invited the Club to use their Silver Lake Casino (clubhouse) for their 2nd annual meeting on August 11, 1933.
The Club had suggested that a joint clubhouse be built with the Laurel Lake Cottagers Association but the Cottagers felt it would be best if each group built their own building.
In 1934, Michael and Asher Hill offered a part of their property to the Club to build a clubhouse on. However, this was not enough land for the trap shooting that several of the members were interested in.
Instead, in Sept 1935, John Horvath offered 5-1/2 acres to the Club. The Club approved buying 4 acres for $300 and a 2-year option to buy the other 1-1/2 acres. In 1936, the additional 1-1/2 acres was purchased plus an additional 1-1/2 acres from Joseph O’Day.
On July 6, 1936, the Silver Lake Rod and Gun Club was incorporated under the non-profit Corporation Law approved May 5, 1933. In the Articles of Information for Incorporation, the Club had 213 signatures of members from both PA and NY.
On August 18, 1937 , the first of several annual meetings were held in a tent on the newly acquired land. Several plans and estimates were generated for a clubhouse, but all were too expensive to approve.
On September 4, 1939, J. Townsend Russell informed the Club Officers he was selling his “Silver Lake Properties" into lots and he would give the Club, a building of their choice, at Camp Red Cloud for their clubhouse. However, it had to be completely removed in 60 days following the start of the sale.
The Club selected the dining hall, as that was the largest building and Mr. Crowley agreed to dismantle the building, with care, for $75.00. Other members agreed to truck the building to the Club land, past Laurel Lake.
Concrete pillars were made to reconstruct the building on and, with volunteers, additional material, and paid labor, the clubhouse was erected for a cost of $1,029.00. A loan of $850.00 was secured from the Montrose National Bank as the Club only had $200.00.
On May 24, 1940, the new building was initiated with a dance and a crowd of 248 people came. It was quickly discovered that a quality, hard wood floor, was needed for dancing and therefore installed. After that, dances were held regularly and it became a popular social center for the surrounding communities.
Trap shooting alone could not maintain the continued expenses of running the Club, but regular dances and later Bingo, provided a revenue source for bills and expansion.
In 1945, well driller Martin dug a well for the Club, a welcome relief for the kitchen and inside rest rooms.
In 1964, poles and lights were installed on the trap ranges for the first time.
In 1968, the Club purchased an additional 58 acres of adjoining land from Carl Hartung. By the mid 1970’s, community dances and Bingo nights were losing favor with television and changing interests of the newer generations.
In 1976, the By-Laws were modified, dropping the article of land posting to keep out “unprincipled hunters”. Farms were being converted to housing lots for an influx of people from NY and NJ and several land owners optioned to independentlycontrol hunting and fishing on their property rather than follow the previous agreed-to rules.
Also, this was the era when Bow Hunting and Archery was becoming very popular. With the invention of the Compound Bow, Trap Shooting was sliding downhill.
With all the Club land, a multi-station Archery Course was designed with different animal-like targets, encompassing the woods, swamp and open fields for monthly Sunday contests and open to the public.
First there were paper animal targets pasted on cardboard attached to straw bails, then painted animals cut from large sheets of dense styrofoam, and finally commercially produced life-size styrofoam animal targets. The course takes 2 to 3 hours to complete. It can involve the entire family. It is fun to walk and it's inexpensive for a competitive outdoor activity.
In 1987, the trap lights were replaced with new brighter lights. The interior of the clubhouse was changed with new walls, electric, curtains and paint during 1988.
In 1991, the 6 Gun Raffle was started to raise money for building projects.
On August 25, 1991, a flag pole memorial was erected for club members who had died, and flag raising ceremonies were held prior to the annual meeting with Harry Sternburg, the Club’s oldest active member, raising the flags.
Beneath the Stars and Stripes flies an MIA flag to remember fellow Americans still missing from past wars and those being held captive, less we forget. The clubhouse continuously moved on its concrete pillars from the frost causing some of the pillars to fall and were replaced with barrels filled with concrete, only to also move.
On July 18, 1992, a contract was approved with G. W. Rounds Construction Company, to build a concrete foundation and supporting beams under the clubhouse before it fell down. Seven 40 feet I-beams were bought from J and J Sheet Metal Company and they donated the supporting pipe for the support columns. Club members enclosed the open portion of the basement with lumber and insulated windows, with material bought that had been rejected, for a building planned for SUNY Binghamton.
In 1994, basement restrooms and a connecting inside stairs to the main floor, were completed .
In 1998, the Pole Shed was in poor condition and was repaired with replacement poles, new roof, new siding and doors to store lawn equipment and archery targets. Also, the basement's small caliber pistol and rifle range and outside lounge, for uncasing guns, were completed.
Trap shooting was minimal in the 1990’s, but the Club always had teams to participate in the Susquehanna County League and hold special shoots during the year.
In 1993, Choconut Concrete donated 2 new concrete trap houses, but it wasn’t until 1999 that Trap shooting, again, started to become popular. This was the year the mortgage, for the basement, was paid in full and members wanted new activities. A new Turret Automatic Trap was purchased.
Roger Everett resculptured the landscape with his new bulldozer toy to bring the trap fields into specs for ATA registered shooting. A trap range lounge was designed and built to house shooters from the weather when not shooting on the line. This also allows trap shooting year round, not just during the summer months.
Younger members of the area were becoming interested in the Club with the added shooting opportunities now available and were shooting trap and using the indoor range. The Boy Scouts were approved for using the Clubhouse Sunday nights for their club activities.
In 2002, Trap shooting really picked up . The trap ranges were approved for ATA registered shoots. This allows all trap shooters to establish a handicap score so they can compete in State and National Trap competitive events. A second Turret Automatic Trap was purchased and concrete-trap walkways were added.
Meanwhile the clubhouse was improved with a new kitchen stove and furnace that could selectively heat the upstairs or basement.
In 2001, new poles and brighter lights were installed on the trap fields and individual voice-activated trap releases were added. The trap lounge was completed.
In 2002, "hi-tech" came to the Clubwith the introduction of its own web- page on the Internet, the Silverlakegunclub.org to inform members and public of its activities.
A new tractor was purchased and the Clubhouse kitchen got a new facelift with paint and curtains.
In September, the members and community were shocked with the passing of Roger Everett, doing what he loved best, “Trap Shooting”.
Roger Everrett was a dedicated life long member of the Club, actively involved in all the decisions and improvements.
In November, the Club initiated an annual Roger Everett Memorial Trap Shoot to generate a yearly fund, that goes to Susquehanna County 4-H Shooting Sports, for youths 12 years and over, and from PA and NY.
The year 2003 opened the beginning of still another shooting sport that is becoming popular across the country, “Cowboy Shooting Sports“.
The Club is now affiliated with SASS, Single Action Shooting Society, and held 2 shoots. It represents a rebirth of the old West with cowboy outfits, single action guns and western town props.
On the Trap ranges, Skeet houses have been added to the club grounds skyline and a 5 Stand Trap Shooting field, where clay birds can be released from 6 automatic traps that surround the shooters.
The first Roger Everett Memorial Shoot was held in May with great participation. The Club is now ready to add 4-H Shooting Sports to its list of activities with 2 certified 4-H instructors.
In 2004, major improvements were made for Single Action Shooting Sports by improving the road and purchasing additional props and equipment.
Fred Guyette made large, wall size calendars for the Clubhouse and Trap Lounge to schedule-in the many yearly club activities. A new automatic trap was purchased for the upper trap range. A new porch and roof was added to the trap lounge. The website was changed to silverlakerodandgunclub.com. In November, the club held its first Texas Hold-em Poker tournament which is planned to continue monthly thru March providing there is sufficient community interest.
In 2005, the driveway and parking areas around the trap lounge were improved with additional stone and drainage pipes. The leaning concrete retaining wall for the upper trap was repaired, an all-weather refrigerator was purchased for the Trap lounge and a rented portable toilet was added, near the trap lounge, for convenience.
Inside the Clubhouse, room air conditioning and 2 air cleaners for smoke were added, along with a new wood stove. The popular “6 Gun” raffle was changed to “12 Gun raffle” with one drawing each month. A new “lifetime Membership” classification was installed.
Youth Shooting Sports began at the Club with a grant from the Friends of the NRA to purchase guns and equipment.
For the future, the Club will continue to strive to be the best Sportsmen Club in the area, providing shooting sport activities to members of the surrounding communities.