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About Leyden Rifle Club
The LRC is a sporting club that is located in Western Massachusetts adjacent to the Vermont border. The LRC's always promotes:
- firearm safety
- shooting marksmanship and
- self-discipline and fellowship.
The beginnings of the LRC traces its roots back to both the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Director of Civilian
Marskmanship (DCM) program (now renamed to the Civilian Marksmanship Program or the CMP).
A new rifle club is formed....
The DCM's origin dates back into late 19th century when the United States military and political leaders strived to strengthen
our country’s national defense capabilities by improving the rifle marksmanship skills for the soldiers in the Armed Forces. In 1903,
both the United States Congress and then President Theodore Roosevelt established the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice
(NBPRP) by initiating national match high-power rifle competitions. From that time, the Department of War and later the Department of the
Army managed the NBPRP that eventually became known as the DCM. The DCM's objectives eventually shifted from
military marksmanship to rifle marksmanship by training U.S. civilians who might (or might not) serve in the
military and for developing the American youth in basic rifle marksmanship. In 1996, Congress acted again to establish the
Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearm Safety which now governs the program and it was renamed from
the DCM to the Civilian Markmanship Program (CMP).
[Source: The CMP's Website]
In May 1935, the first meeting was held in the town of Leyden and was attended by area residents for the purpose of organizing the
Leyden Rifle Club. The attendees adopted By-laws for a new rifle club (as outlined and recommended by the NRA); 10 By-laws
were adopted. (To read the Club's 1935's 10 By-laws, click here → pdf file.)
At the first meeting in1935, the founding elected officers of the LRC were:
- President: Eric Cook
- Vice-President: John Wagstaff
- Secretary: Henry Glabach
- Treasurer: Henry Glabach
- Executive Officer: Charles Bolton
There were 25 founding LRC members and annual membership dues were set at $1.00 per year (!). Lastly,
the Club joined and became affiliated with the NRA; the LRC continues its membership in, and fully supports, the NRA.
The LRC was active into the 1940's by holding high power rifle matches and practice shoots often on Monday evenings
in the summers at the 200 yard range (located in West Leyden). The U.S. War Department would often issue .22 long rifle riimfire ammuntion to the
LRC; the Club would distribute 100 rounds "...to each member in good standing and sell the [balance] for 25¢ per box...".
Immediately after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Club's meeting minutes for December 9, 1941 showed that LRC
members, the Women's Auxiliary, and local Leyden residents all assisted in the war effort by serving as lookouts and
spotters for any flying aircraft. The Club's records state, "The lookout location was on the hill northwest of the indoor
range. A model T coupe body installed on the ground with a spotting cupola set on the coupe's roof heated by an oil burner." Shortly after, the
model T coupe was replaced by a 7 by 9 foot heated wooden structure which the aircraft spotters used through the duration of the World War 2.
After World War II in Fall of 1945, negotiations started by the LRC to lease the 200 yard range
to the Town of Greenfield for its National Guard's rifle practices and training. In December 1945, the LRC Officers
met with the State National Guard and Greenfield Armory to iron-out the range lease details. By June 1948, a formal lease was
approved by the LRC (the lease was dated on August 5, 1946) for the 'inhabitants of Greenfield' and for the term of
10 years at a rental fee of $75.00 per year + cost of property taxes assessed upon the LRC's land. Club records also show that in
Novemer 1946, a Captain Bailey of the Greenfield National Guard was granted a 'life membership' to the LRC; Captain Bailey would
eventually become President of the LRC in 1950.
LRC's 200 yard target 'butts' under construction (circa 1948-49)
Photo courtesy of LRC member, Tom W. ( ← Thank you)
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Other interesting past events and timelines of the LRC are....
- On May 3, 1946, the Officers voted to 'incorporate' the LRC; on May 30, the Club received its 'corporation'
papers from Massachusetts.
- In the Spring of 1948, LRC Officers voted to charge new members a (one-time) initiation fee of $10.00 along
with their $1.00 annual membership dues.
- In 1950, LRC President Bailey proposed to build a 100 yard range at the West Leyden range; the motion was
carried 12-to-1. (The 100 yard range does exist; however, it has since been over-grown with trees, brush, etc.)
- During the 1950's, LRC continued to hold rifle practices and matches at the West Leyden 200 yard range every
other week during the summers. Attendance at these shoots varied from 5 to 20 shooters from both the LRC
and residents from Greenfield. The Turners Falls Rifle Club would often use the rifle range on Sundays in the
summers. The Club's meeting minutes asked the question, "Why can't more Leyden members make an effort
to attend one or two shoots?" (The same problem that the LRC encounters these days.)
- In 1963, the LRC voted to allow the Bernardston Rifle Club to use the rifle range for a $1.00 per member fee +
- In 1966, the Greenfield built for the LRC a target holding building in the 'butts'; complaints were made
that there was no lock on the building's door (it's still that way today).
- In 1969, LRC annual membership dues were increased from $1.00 to $2.00. (!)
- In 1974, the Greenfield and the National Guard terminated their lease with the LRC for use of the 200 yard range.
- In 1982, the LRC voted to and approved to become affiliated with the DCM. From this, the LRC became
eligible to purchase from the DCM .30-'06 cartridges to be sold for use at the high power rifle matches.
(The LRC continues to offer shooters .30-'06 cartridges for the high power rifle matches.)
- In May 2013, LRC's newsletters and special notices are sent by electronic mail (email) to all current members.
LRC's website went "live" on World Wide Web (the Internet) in 2013 and, by March 2014, there were over 1,000
visitors who browsed the new website in our first year! The Club has averaged about 1,000 visitors every year except
for 2017 where there were about 1,500 visitors to our website.
- In the summer of 2013, LRC members rebuilt our Pavillion at the outdoor rifle range.
(Click on the "Photos" page and then click on the Pavillion webpage link to view the pictures of LRC's
Pavillion's reconstruction from start-to-finish.)
- 2015 marked the 80th anniversary of the LRC in Massachusetts.
- In 2017, work was started to clear trees and brush for a single firing lane at 300 yards on the outdoor rifle range
in West Leyden. The new 300 yard range has a tentative schedule for completion in 2018.
The LRC's official name for 2019 is now: LEYDEN RIFLE CLUB, INC. But did you know that the official name of the
club (prior to 2019) used to be,
LEYDEN RIFLE CLUB, INC. and JUNIOR DIVISION ?
What did the term 'JUNIOR DIVISION' mean? The CMP has always promoted, through its affiliated Clubs,
to have 'junior' shooters become familiar with and qualify for rifle marksmanship. It meant that
persons under 21 years can learn about rifle marksmanship and and shooting. In the past,
the LRC has often hosted youth groups like the Boy Scouts of America to come to our ranges to learn how
to shoot, -say to qualify for their Boy Scout Marksmanship Merit Badges. The LRC is always
looking for 'junior shooters' to learn how to shoot at the Club's ranges. If any of the
LRC members know of any 'junior' shooters who would like to learn how to shoot and learn about marksmanship,
please contact the Club to make shooting arrangements.
The LRC continues now to be an active organization in the Pioneer Valley and plans to exist well into the future.
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Great American riflemen:
Sgt. Alvin York, World War 1 hero (Deceased)
John Cantius Garand with his Rifle, M1, .30 caliber
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