ST. CLAIR FISHING & SHOOTING CLUB

Heritage and Prestige


It all began just seven years after the end of the American Civil War when four Detroit sportsmen met in E. B. Smith’s bookstore in downtown Detroit in 1872, forming a hunting and fishing club. The club was available only by water with a regular ferry service which departed from the foot of Woodward. By 1890 the Great Lakes Steamer, Tashmoo (capable of carrying up to 4,000 passengers), began its service from Detroit to Port Huron, and the Club was one of its regular stops. In 1940, it finally became possible to reach The Old Club by car when the bridge connecting Harsen’s Island to The Old Club property was completed.

The Old Club History 2
The Old Club History 3
The Old Club History 4
The Old Club History 5
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What’s Next?

The River Bar Reimagined


Generations of fortunate families have swapped stories, fishing tales and certainly enjoyed their share of beverages in our iconic River Bar. As we approach our 150th anniversary next year, we are excited to offer a sneak peek of the future of The Old Club – and a completely reimagined River Bar for the next generation.

The Old Club Renovated
The Old Club Renovated
The Old Club Renovated
The Old Club Renovated
The Old Club Renovated
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Events and Milestones


  • 1872

    May 4 Detroit Sportsmen met at E. B. Smith’s bookstore in Downtown Detroit to form a hunting and fishing club.


    June 4 Articles of Association submitted creating the St. Clair Fishing and Shooting Club of Detroit.

    Founders purchased a tract in the St. Clair Flats adjacent to Harsens Island, which in reality was little more than swampland.

    Founders constructed – on stilts – 26 boathouses and a clubhouse at a total cost of $l,514.33.

    (For the first 68 years of its existence, access to the Club was available only by water.)

  • 1875

    Regular ferry service to the Club was available.

  • 1890

    Guests could depart from the foot of Woodward Avenue and arrive at the Club in just one hour. 

    The Great Lakes Steamer, Tashmoo (capable of carrying up to 4,000 passengers), began its service from Detroit to Port Huron, and the Club was one of its regular stops.

  • 1902

    The original Articles of Association expired and the Club was reorganized as The Old Club.

  • 1912

    The first tennis court was constructed, with two more courts added the following year.

  • 1917

    The “Ritz” was built, offering sumptuous accommodations for club members who wanted overnight accommodations.

  • 1924

    Construction of The Old Club’s golf course began, taking three years before the full nine holes were in play.

    The Grayling II Motor Launch was purchased and provided regular service to the Club from Woods Landing in Detroit.

  • 1926

    April fire, tug James Elliott, battles the heavy ice floes to reach the Clubhouse which was engulfed in flames, destroying ninety percent of the building.

    The present clubhouse and swimming pool were added.

  • 1932

    Marked the 60th anniversary of The Old Club, and a national depression did nothing to dampen the festivities.

  • 1940

    It finally became possible to reach The Old Club by car when the final bridge from Harsen’s Island was completed.

  • 1961

    The trap shooting range was added and the golf course was completely redone.