Sunday, December 20, 2015

Foxhunting in Upland 114 years ago!!

Hard to believe Upland once looked like this and had a fox hunting club


 Friends Entertained at the famous West House on the Bridgewater Road, Now the sumptuous Home of the Gentleman’s Organization 
 All the Appurtenances of a Country Club
                The Upland Fox Hunting Club yesterday opened their splendidly appointed club house with a formal reception given by the house committee to the members and their friends.  The club house is situated on the old West farm, and has stood on the outskirts of Upland Borough for more than two hundred years.  It is in a most delightfully picturesque spot and during the fall and winter will be the scene of many happy gatherings of the sportsmen throughout this and adjacent counties.
                The house and its surroundings have recently been improved and it was the completion of these changes which were announced in the event yesterday.  From 4 to 6 o’clock in the evening the members and their friends to the number of perhaps fifty, wended their way to the hunt club’s domicile and after being shown through the structure were served with tea under the direction of Caterer Morrison of Chester.
                The house committee acted in the capacity of receivers and included in the number were:  Victor J. Petry, Robert H. Page, Edward Crozer, Harry E. Wilson and the following officers ex-officio:  President, John P. Crozer, Louis R. Page, vice president and treasurer.  Harry E. Wilson is secretary.
                THE CLUB HOUSE – The old West farm was purchased some months ago, the sale being consummated by Edward Crozer, who has been one of the leading spirits in the movement to form the Upland Fox Hunting Club.  The steps toward this were taken soon after the improvements were begun and the charter was accordingly secured.  In making the changes it has been the aim of Mr. Crozer, Mr. Wilson and their advisors to retain as far as possible the antiquated appearance of the building.  The visitor to the premises sees the old beams and girders, the ancient stairways, the old closets, the solid oaken floor timbers and everything connected with a house built in the seventeenth century, preserved, yet so brightened that the effect is very beautiful.
                The house has been furnished with tables and chairs in keeping with the surrounding appearances, and altogether the Upland Hunt Club, with its ideal grounds, is one of the best equipped in the country.  There is a lounging room or the members and their associates; there is a spacious dining room, with a large round table in the center; a kitchen with an old log fireplace and a massive stone hearth.
                On the second floor the various rooms are furnished with enameled individual bedsteads, so that members coming in from a ride through the country or belated on the road at night, may come in and spend the time there and find all the comforts of home.
                One of the apartments is to be fitted up with a modern bath room, with shower baths, and is to be supplied with city water.  The secretary of the club has his room finely furnished with roll top desk and all the appointments of a high-class office.  In nearly all the rooms there remain the old fireplaces intact.
                SOME UNWRITTEN HISTORY – One place on the first floor is an object of interest, and there is connected with it something uncanny.  Just what it was built for is not known.  To the side of the fireplace in the apartment which is to be used for the lounging room there is a close-like aperture the entrance to which is the width only of a foot plant inside, the place is large enough for one person to sit comfortable.  Built therein is a seat.  It is believed that this was for the purpose of hiding slaves.
                The door was placed so that it could not be seen from inside the room it being even with the wall.  For years this was covered with the paper which was upon the wall, and would not have been known to the new owners had it not been pointed out.  This is preserved, the original door still hanging.
                The grounds about the house and the buildings have been greatly improved.  Mr. Crozer said yesterday to a Times man:  “This was a discouraging looking place when we got hold of it, but we have made many changes.  There is still much to be done.  We shall lay out a number of gold links and have places for other interesting amusements.”
                TYPICAL COUNTRY CLUB – Mr. Wilson said:  “We shall make this a typical country club for one is needed more than anything else for Chester and its environs.  We shall have someone here at all times in charge and our members can come here and get anything they want to eat.  One improvement contemplated is a road out from the kennels direct to the main highway.”
                The kennels are another point which was a great attraction to the visitors yesterday.  These are in charge of an experienced man, who is known as the huntsman.  He is Marshall Altemus, formerly of the Radnor Hunt, and a fine keeper he is.  Not only yesterday was everything in cleanly and splendid shape, but every day, and at all times, the kennels are in such excellent condition.  These houses of the hounds are built on the most approved plans so that the sleeping apartment of the dogs can be kept clean easily.
                THE FOX HOUNDS – The hounds themselves are high bred American animals.  “The English hounds,” said Secretary Wilson yesterday, “are not as popular as the American, therefore, we have confined our ideas to the latter.  They are by far the keener.  We have but two English dogs in the twenty-five or more of the whole lot.”  The kennels are situated in a most delightfully shaded portion of the grounds, the whole of which comprise 119 acres.
                The old barn has also received attention from the hands of the carpenters.  A large number of fine box stalls have been built while other stalls have been erected so that more than seventy-five head can be accommodated at one time.  At the present season of the year the horses are let out to pasture on the hunt club fields.  There are a large number of them, which are very valuable not only from the point of view of breeding, but as hunters.
                AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL FIND – While some of the repairs were being made to the porch recently there was unearthed a mummified cat.  The skin of the cat is preserved and is like a drum head.  But the outlines of the head, feet and tail are intact.  It is believed that the condition of the earth is responsible for the preservation.  The animal is placed away in the secret closet and is shown only to the friends of the club.
                At the present time there are about thirty members active, contributing and non-resident.  The active membership is limited to 25, and of this number there are present 18.


  1. Curious: is the text from the Chester Times? I searched the archive there via keyword and cannot find it. But I am guessing since Crozer remarked "to a Times man" that it is the Chester Times. Is the article from 1901? The hill rising behind the riders is Toby Farms I am fairly certain but it is difficult to place them in the landscape. Chester Creek is on the right, which would put the photographer with his back to Bridgewater Road and the farmhouse (or, clubhouse) up the hill to the left. They are very near to where the old Toby Farms community pool used to be, on the corner of Albert and Powell Roads. But if I am wrong please tell me. Also the lead rider I am pretty sure is Edward Crozer himself. I have (from a book) a picture of him probably taken on the same day, in the same outfit, credited to the same photographer as the one on the back of this postcard. Do you know where other photographs and histories of the former farm/farmhouse can be found? Thanks.

    1. Daniel
      Did you ever get a reply ? I would be interested in the info .