H I S T O R Y
2989 Stirling Road
The Beginning - Booming 1920’s
Friends Edwin H. Whitson and Joseph W. Young arrived in South Florida in the 1920’s and began purchasing land which would be known as Hollywood FL. Joseph Young knew this was the right location to build his “Dream City”! History books document Joseph W. Young as triggering the great Florida land boom of this era. In later years,
businessman Ed Whitson became the first Secretary of the soon to be founded Hollywood Rifle and Pistol Club.
Construction began on hotels, businesses and new homes in Hollywood which required a solid rock foundation. “Ojus rock” was dug out of remotely located rock pits throughout the area. The remote location of the rock pit became a favorite gathering spot for individuals to shoot whatever firearm they owned. The pit attracted business owners, local workers, winter visitors and residents. The birth of the Hollywood Rifle and Pistol Club began it’s new life in one of these rock pits, in the original location it remains today, over 70 years later.
Two and one-half miles west of Dixie Highway, the two lane Dania-Davie road led to a rock pit out in ‘no man’s land’. This narrow road later became known as Stirling Road, named for Frank Stirling, a prominent Davie citrus grove owner who later served as a Florida State Representative.
The City of Hollywood was chartered November, 1925. Joseph Young’s “Dream City” was experiencing the peak of a land and building boom…until Hollywood was hit with terrible destruction by the “1926 Hurricane“. Followed by the stock market crash of 1929, many people moved away from the area. Many business owners stayed to rebuild, new residents moved into the area to live and shooting activity increased at the rock pit in the 1930’s.
Downtown Hollywood: The land rush was on and Hollywood Boulevard bloomed with the bustle of a boom city. The soaring 20’s dreams of Hollywood founder Joseph Young were burst by a hurricane and financial collapse after the 1926 Hurricane.
1930’s - Birth of Hollywood Rifle and Pistol Club
The need for additional rock diminished and dredging at the rock pit slowly ceased, while the attendance of gun enthusiasts increased. To keep a safe and orderly environment, a group of nineteen shooters drafted By-Laws and organized into a club. The name chosen was "Hollywood Rifle and Pistol Club". The first membership dues were two dollars per year which also included family members.
National Rifle Association records show 1935 Charter Members were:
Edwin H. Whitson,
Secretary Joseph C. Pendergraft,
Henry L. Eager,
Vice President Charles B. Smith,
Harvey E. Dixon,
Cyril G. Albrecht,
Thomas Eugene Norfleet,
Thaddeus S. Hall,
Thomas E. Kelly,
Exec. Harry R. Kendall,
Selby W. Williford,
Officer Derwin W. Sexmith,
President Ralph C. Thompson,
Alphaus A. Surber,
Treasurer Earle E. Daffler,
Lynn W. Butchart
1935: With the newly organized Club and By-Laws in place, on September 10, 1935 club members made Application for Affiliation with The National Rifle Association of America. Payment was $51.00 in dues to NRA. All Club members were required to be NRA members and HRPC was accepted by NRA, as a 100% Class “A organization“. The club’s acceptance was signed by the Office of Adjutant General, State of Florida and The National Rifle Association Secretary. HRPC is still extremely proud of the fact it was the first rifle and pistol club in the State of Florida to be organized and operating as a private club affiliated with the NRA. The club held its first NRA registered competition March 1937. The firing line was rock approximately 75 feet long and could accommodate 15 prone smallbore rifle shooters. Range facilities at that time included outdoor smallbore range as well as both short and long high power.
1935 C. B. SMITH (Charles B. Smith, known as "C.B."), A. FRANK AVERY, EFFIE FEARS, T. C. ROSSMAN, OLAF OWRA
ORIGINAL BY-LAWS – OBJECTIVE OF THE CLUB 1935
The following is the original objective of the Club. The current By-laws reflect amended and expanded objectives; however, the essence of the original objectives remains today.
Below: Club’s letterhead stationery 1941 First Club Brassard
1940’s - Growth
1940 Now an official Club, equipment was procured and the ground was leveled and graded in August, 1940. This was also the first year the Hollywood Rifle and Pistol Club held its first NRA sanctioned prone smallbore rifle match.
1940 - The once barren rock pit is now the Hollywood Rifle and Pistol Club hosting popular small bore rifle matches drawing competitors from around the State of Florida.
1940 The NRA Charter Banquet was held at Orangebrook Golf & Country Club on August 10, 1940. The National Rifle Association Charter was the first of its kind presented to any Florida club and the largest NRA Class “A” Club to ever be organized. NRA assigned the Club No. C-193.
Club membership soared to over 100 members in 1940
February, 1941, a small frame house was donated to the club for use as a target house. It was moved onto the range by club President, Charles B. Smith (known as C.B. Smith). “C. B.”, as he was called, was a longtime city & county commissioner, a local businessman, a rifle shooter extremely supportive of the rifle and pistol club. He served as club president from 1937 until January 1948.
September, 1941, Club improvements continued when the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce donated their old building in downtown Hollywood to the club. C .B. Smith arranged to have this large building moved onto the range for use as a club house.
The first Annual Meeting was held in this Club House February 1942.
March, 1941, the firing line was sodded and extended to 23 firing positions.
1942 A letter dated August 31, 1942 from John U. Lloyd, Broward County Attorney stated: “Upon the payment of the balance of the purchase price to the County, it is my opinion that your organization should be incorporated into a non-profit corporation and a deed given by the County to such corporation. Also, at the next session of the State Legislature an act should be passed ratifying and confirming this conveyance. Notes could then be given evidencing the indebtedness which is owed in regard to the purchase of this range.”
1942 membership had dropped considerably due to the end of the building boom and large financial losses by local businesses. Jobs in the area were scarce and many men joined the military to serve our country in World War II.
1942 During World War II, the range was used by the military for target practice and firearm instruction and training. Because of the club’s contribution to war effort, the remaining $400.00 debt, owed the County to purchase the property, was written off.
January 1943 C. B. Smith continued as club President and T.C. Rossman was elected Vice President.
December 1945 Mrs. (T.C.) Gwen Rossman was elected Secretary. The first woman to hold this position.
May, 1947 The club’s land purchase indebtedness was paid back to the various club members who had loaned funds, interest free, to purchase the property from the County.
1947 club members built a cover over the firing line and added 12 additional firing positions.A hurricane this same year caused the new firing line cover to be blown away. A new cover replaced the old one within the year.
1949 club membership dues remained at $2.00.
1950’s - Improvements
Due to the Club‘s growth, protection of members and property liability became an important issue and Incorporation became a necessity. In preparation for incorporation, twoTrustees were set in place as recommended by the club’s legal counsel. Trustees were Frank Avery and Olaf Owra. By 1968 both trustees were removed via legally filed documents from any further HRPC ownership responsibility.
June 2, 1951, The Hollywood Rifle and Pistol Club was officially Incorporated.
Husband and wife team, T.C. and Gwen Rossman. Each held many national and state championship awards. Gwen passed away 1996. T. C. who continued to compete until his death in 2010 at the age of 97.
1952 club members voted to purchase Bonds to help finance the construction of a new concrete block club house and other range improvements. Total Bonds sold: $1,535.00. The Bonds were to mature in ten years.
Club members teamed together and constructed the concrete block club house with covered front porch, a permanently covered spectators area with bleachers and installed a Public Address System on the firing line.
Club members marking building foundation for new concrete block club house. Photo circa 1952.
1952 rifle competition was increasing throughout the State and application was made to NRA to hold two day, weekend prone smallbore rifle matches, including the clubs first Regional. Dates were carefully selected to avoid conflict with other Florida club matches. Certain pistol enthusiasts were opposed at the time, but NRA approved the rifle matches. The success of this and other matches. lead HRPC to host the popular two day, Florida State Smallbore Rifle Championships, which was successfully accomplished, for the first time in 1953 and again in 1956.
1953 Gwen Rossman (Mrs. T.C. Rossman) was elected to hold the office of President. To date, she is the only woman be elected and hold this Club office.
Turkey shoots, open to the public, were popular and lucrative events at this time.
All range improvements to this point were supported by rifle club members.
1955 March, the club retired all of its outstanding Bonds, which was a great event and a Bond Burning ceremony and club dinner celebrated the event. At this event Charles A. (Pop) Wallace, Jr. and Mr. C. B. Smith were the first club members to receive “Life Memberships” in the Hollywood Rifle & Pistol Club.
1957 Upon closure of the Fort Lauderdale Junior Rifle Range, all junior shooters were invited to use the HRPC range. The interest and influx of these members helped launch and increase HRPC‘s junior membership. By January 1968, all junior members reaching their 18th birthday and desiring to become Senior club members, would be given a one year membership without dues plus their initiation fee would be waived. This policy remains in effect today.
1958 Pistol shooters became organized by November 1958.
1958 - Senior membership increased to $10.00 with all wives given a free associate membership
~ Newly formed Juniors (age 15 and under) dues $2.50
Accomplishments 1950 - 1965
Club members constructed a new Club house
Club members constructed two new target houses
Fenced the front of the property
Extended the firing line from 25 to 50 positions
Added a roof to cover the additional positions
Re-roofed the entire firing line with aluminum
Moved the back-stop closer to 100 yard butts
Replaced the sod on the firing line
Installed a sprinkler system
Later on: Sod was removed and firing line was concrete
1960’s -The Success of Competition Shooting
Pistol shooting gained increased popularity and additional baffling and range safety improvements were required. Club Championship Awards included: Smallbore Rifle Pistol High power Rifle Shotgun.
1962 Competition shooting was at a peak. The demand for available range time went through many rules and regulations in order to allow sufficient time on the range for rifle shooters, pistol shooters and junior members. Scheduling evolved many times to try and please all members.
1962 Club members voted to change monthly meetings to weekday evenings to increase attendance. The third
Tuesday of each month was designated the general meeting date. A suggestion box was also introduced.
1964 All applicants for new membership must have the signature of a sponsor.
May 1964 Junior Memberships were approved by NRA under the classification “Junior Division”. Members must be 18 years of age or older and they cannot take part in the Senior NRA programs. Junior membership was $5.00 per year.
1965 The juggling of shooting schedules continued in order to provide adequate range time for all members.
A need for a telephone at the range and a pay telephone was installed outside the club house.
A new club policy was approved to waive membership dues for any club member while on active duty with the armed forces provided they maintained their NRA membership.
1966 No guns or ammo would be stored on the premises. No beer to be sold during any matches.
Club colors were established as Red, White, Blue. New Badge wearing policy was approved. Members must wear their badge while on the range. If members did not have their badge on their person or in their shooting kit, or if the member did not have their membership card, they would be asked to leave the premises.
1968 Pistol matches to be held the last Sunday of the month. Rifle matches to be held the second Sunday in the
month. T.C. Rossman designed the baffle system that was approved and installed in 1969.
1969 The By-Laws stated “every member of the Hollywood Rifle & Pistol Club, Inc. must participate in three (3) registered club matches, rifle or pistol. Those members, excluding active officers, not filling the requirements, are subject to double dues each year. Junior’s are to be excluded.”
1969 & 1970 the first 1800 NRA approved Pistol Championships were held at the club. All pistol competitions were one day events. Hardball or fully jacketed bullets were not permitted on the range.
Turkey shoots for Thanksgiving and Christmas were still lucrative and popular with the public.
1969 Senior membership dues increased to $24.00.
Senior Initiation fee increased to $30.00
Junior dues increased to $10.00 per year.
All effective February 1, 1970
By April the clubs total membership had soared to 200 members.
NRA Individual Membership was $5.00 per member.
1970 - membership 200
1977 - membership 285
1978 - membership 261
(2005 - membership 245)
1991 HRPC received recognition as a Gold Medal Club and a 100% NRA Recognition Award for maintaining 100% NRA Memberships since our 1935 affiliation with NRA. As of 2005, the Hollywood Rifle & Pistol Club Inc. celebrates a 70 year affiliation as a 100% Club with the National Rifle Association.
In need of financial assistance, the club applied to the National Rifle Assoc. in 2002 to be recognized as a “Gold Medal” NRA Club. Requirements of this honor are: 100% NRA Membership, must have an active NRA Recruiting Program, an active junior program and at least a quarterly Newsletter. HRPC earned this distinction in 2003 which permitted us to qualify and apply to NRA for a $3,000.00 Range Grant. The club was awarded this much needed Grant in 2004. The Grant funds were used for fencing the HRPC property. Additional financial donations from many club members helped with other range improvements, such as: clearing trees, trash & debris from the north end of club property, repairing the target turning mechanism, replacing the water heater and the club house air conditioner.
Army Marksmanship Team set eleven new national position records on our range. Junior members qualified for the National Junior Olympics Prone Rifle Competition at HRPC. HRPC has had a Junior representative qualify for this competition on our range for four of the past five years.
Membership & Financial
1950 Member dues $5.00
1956 dues $6.00
1957 dues $7.00
1958 February dues $8.00
1958 November $10.00
1959 Bank $408.00
1959 All members to pay initiation fee of $7.50
1959 a raffle provided added funds Bank “ $1200.00
1964 Junior Member dues $5.00
1965 Member dues $12.00
1966 Member dues $12.00
1966 Junior Member dues $6.00
2004 Member dues $75.00
2005 Dues increased to $100
2007 Dues increased to $150
H.R.P.C. Accomplishments/Member Honors
Additional honors to be included as submitted by members to Historical Committee.
1951 Mrs. Gwen Rossman won Florida State Smallbore Championship over both male and female competitors.
1953 Mrs. Emilie Wenner established the first national woman’s record over 50 meter course, metallic sights, 40 shots.
1955 Reginald (Regs) Ryle won the Florida State Smallbore Championship.
1956 Reginald (Regs) Ryle won the Southeastern Regional Championships.
1956 Mrs. Gwen Rossman won the Women’s Southeastern Championships.
1996 Chuck Wachsmuth set the present record for “Sudden Death” at HRPC range – Rifle (18x)
1998 Randy Schwartz broke the record for “Gwen Rossman Fun Rifle Match” with 900-89x
2002 Joe Mains set a new “Sudden Death” record for pistol (13x)
2005 Joe Mains and Gene Greenstein broke the “Combat” Team Score
Credits - the preceding information was researched and provided by Kay Ellington, daughter of T. C. Rossman, with additions by lifetime member, Linda Dillon.
In 2010, Junior Jimmie Cooper, represented the HRPC and the USA in the World Prone Rifle Event in Munich. The US Team came in third.
Trophies won at Nationals/Camp Perry
1951, 1961 and 1962 Eric Sundstrum was the National Prone Smallbore Champion
1974 – Bob Settle was High Civilian and the National Pistol Champion
1977 – Junior, Oscar Hernandez, won the Whittington Trophy and became the National Junior Smallbore Champion
1982 – David Passmore followed in Oscar Hernandez’ footsteps and became National Junior Smallbore Champion
Between 1994 and 2005 eighteen national smallbore records were set on our range (See Records Page)
For seven years in a row the HRPC sent a Junior to the Junior Olympics in Colorado Springs
In 2000 Jay Axelrod became the State of Florida, Any Sight, Silhouette Champion.