Fox Hunting began in the Detroit Area with the formation of the Grosse Pointe Hunt Club in 1911. The founding members operated out of a tiny farmhouse on Cook Road. Captain Burns Henry was the Master and he hunted 20 couple (40) English foxhounds drafted from the Chagrin Falls, Brandywine and Middlesex hunts. Grosse Pointe was primarily farmland behind Lakeshore Drive and the hunt country extended across Mack Avenue toward Mt. Clemens. There were few foxes in the area and their hunts were primarily drag hunts.
Hunting continued on a limited scale during the week in Grosse Pointe until 1926 when the last of the hounds were sold. The Grosse Pointe Hunt Club then sold much of its land to purchase a farmhouse and stable in Metamora, which is now part of Win-a-Gin Farms. Kennels were just north of the property on what is now the Filmore property. This is a former site of the Metamora Hunt’s annual Hunter Trials. The official colors of the Grosse Pointe Hunt were cherry red collars with double white piping.
As fox hunting waned in Grosse Pointe, a number of their members joined with a group in Bloomfield to hunt more open land. In the Fall of 1914 these gentleman founded the Bloomfield Open Hunt in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. This group purchased the Hagerman Haycock farm on Long Lake Road and remodeled the farmhouse to serve as a clubhouse. Edward P. Hammond was the first president of the Bloomfield Open Hunt. The founders were: George Hendrie, William Hendrie, E.S. Nichols, Burns Henry, S. Depu, John Endicott, J.A. Rucker, H.F. Chaney and S.N. Lortrop. E.S. Nichols, who served as Huntsman at Grosse Pointe, also served as Master and Huntsman of the Bloomfield Open Hunt until 1925 when Arthur Kirby was hired as Huntsman. Mr. Kirby was the only professional Huntsman the BOH ever had and he served for forty years, retiring in 1965 when the BOH had its final hunt.
Up to 1919, the Bloomfield Open Hunt was also a drag hunt, but in 1920, the members decided it was better to hunt live foxes. By the late 1920’s, housing and industry in Bloomfield Hills were replacing farms and they began to look toward Metamora to expand their hunt territory. The official colors of the Bloomfield Open Hunt were a plum collar with buff piping.
Between the Grosse Pointe Hunt and the Bloomfield Open Hunt there were enough interested people to consider developing countryside primarily for this sport, well beyond the limits of suburban growth. After checking several areas, Metamora was selected. It was accessible, scenic, provided plenty of natural cover and there was enough land available. Enough land was purchased in the proposed area to assure success of the venture.
Acting as agent for the charter members, John Sweeney bought approximately 15 square miles in the proposed area. This area lies about 50 miles north of Detroit and is located in Metamora and Dryden Townships of Lapeer County and Oxford and Addison Townships of Oakland County. It is characterized by rolling wooded hills through which winds the south branch of the Flint River. As land was taken over by members, buildings were restored, fence lines cleaned out and jumping panels and gates installed. All of this activity brought added interest and land values escalated. This boom was cut short by the depression of the 30’s, but since then the establishment of many permanent homes has brought steady increase in land values. In 1929 kennels and staff quarters were built on Barber Road where they are today, and for the accommodation of those who had not fixed up a place of their own, the Grosse Pointe Hunt Club and the Bloomfield Open Hunt each took over an old farm house to bed and board their members. The Grosse Pointe Hunt’s facility was, what later became the Metamora Club located at Win-A-Gin farms. The Metamora Club served as a focal point of the Metamora Hunt until it burned in the late 1980’s. Before these branch clubhouses were in operation, hunt breakfasts were held at the local pub, and then called Frank’s Place, but which soon followed the trend by changing its name to the White Horse Inn. Many Hunt breakfasts are now held at the Hunters Creek Club on Sutton Rd.
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