Snippets of Bay Village History: The Old Dover-Bay Gun Club
Editor's note: This article has been updated with the correct residency of Fred Hansen.
“Many Lake Road motorists are startled to hear the sound of shotgun fire as they crest the hill opposite Cahoon Park in Bay Village, and bathers at Huntington Beach often see strange little yellow flying saucers dip over the cliff nearby and sail into the lake.” These words were used by Lois Keever in a local newspaper article in 1966.
The Dover Bay Gun Club was founded by Fred Hansen, who lived in Lakewood. Fred built the shooting range on the site of an abandoned grape arbor in Cahoon Memorial Park above Lake Erie in 1923. Shooters agreed that it was one of the finest in the country.
The lake offered an unobstructed background for the colored targets, the traps were the finest available, and efficient organization kept the squads moving from trap to trap without a hitch. While waiting on the shady clubhouse porch for a turn to shoot, few participants probably realized that the small clubhouse with photos of club sharpshooters on the walls once housed horses for the Wischmeyer Hotel.
Clifford Aldrich had been the club’s president for 33 years before his death. “One of the main reasons we draw so many people and have stayed in business so long is that we allow no gambling, drinking or rough language," Aldrich was quoted as saying. "The Cahoon Will doesn’t allow it and we enforce the rules to the letter.”
The first permit for a gun club in the Village of Bay was issued June 12, 1923. It was Resolution No. 428. This permit was to be amended four more times before all requirements were met. Permission was given to have bi-monthly shooting matches, these permits to be at the will of Council.
Due to environmental concerns, the gun club eventually closed. Today, this area is used as a walking track for the citizens of Bay Village.
I am the Historian for the Bay Village Historical Society. Member and Past President of the society. Lived in the village since 1936.