The History of the Sportsmen’s Club on Bainbridge Island
Formed in 1929, the club was originally known as the Bainbridge Island Rod and Gun Club. The founding members of the Sportsmens Club include many individuals significant to Bainbridge Islands past, including Dr. Frank Shepard, Captain Kunkler, Major Hopkins, Buck Bucklin, Henry Rodal and Arnold Raber. We encourage you to view the Historical News Gallery to view items of historical interest.
The club incorporated as the Bainbridge Island Sportsmens club and moved to its current location in 1939. The clubhouse, pistol and trap ranges were constructed at about the same time. The developed area of the club is approximately 2.5 acres in size; the balance of the nearly 16 acre property is heavily forested and also contains a pond and wetland areas.
The clubhouse is built in the rustic style of architecture, and the intensive use of hand labor and clear rejection of regularity and symmetry that characterizes this style is apparent in the buildings construction. Rustic architecture developed in the period from 1917-1927, and was a style of architecture heavily used in our countrys wilderness parks during the 1930s. This movement in American architecture was a natural outgrowth of a new romanticism about nature, and about our country’s western frontiers. The conservation ethic slowly took hold, and part of this ethic is what makes this architectural style unique: the building is accessory to nature. Early pioneer and regional building techniques were revived to construct these buildings because it was thought that a structure employing native materials blended best with the environment.
Often rustic structures are too young to receive proper attention under the current federal criteria for Historic Places. Each year a few disappear and many more are altered by remodeling done without sensitivity to the original design. In 2009 the club decided to make significant repairs and remodel some aspects of the clubhouse and the ranges, in particular the pistol range. Part of the goal of the remodeled pistol range was to improve its safety and to build a structure that would suppress the noise of pistols firing. This would make its use safer, reduce noise and make it available to those with disabilities. This was funded in part by a grant from the Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island. Other issues to be addressed included rehabbing the exterior of the building which was in disrepair, adding insulation to the meeting room which was not insulated, and a recent break-in necessitated security upgrades. A second grant will be utilized to create an indoor/outdoor archery range.
The club made a commitment to maintain the integrity of both the interior and exterior historic elements of the building throughout the reconstruction. The clubhouse did not originally have electricity, and was lighted by gas lamps; these lamps will be retained in their original locations. Though all the windows are being replaced, the original window openings have been retained and the wood trim is in the same style as the original installation. The club initially sought to replace only one façade with new siding; they have since decided to mill cedar trees from the site and are replacing all of the siding. The contractor, Rich Schmidt, has hand-hewn the lower edges of the siding to maintain the architectural integrity of the rustic style.
As a recreational organization, the club shares a special place in the communitys history, and is committed to continuing to provide services for future residents of the island.
History Photo Gallery (click images to make larger)
If you have pictures that you would like to send in for us to use on our site please email them to: admin@BISCwa.org