The CASTALIA SPORTING CLUB served as a center of social activity from 1878 through 1936 for some of Cleveland's most prominent business and civic leaders, including Lee McBride, JOHN HAY, JAMES FORD RHODES, AMASA STONE, and JEPTHA WADE. Two well-known non-Clevelanders, Secretary of the Treasury Andrew W. Mellon and steel industrialist Henry Clay Frick, were also members.
The Castalia Sporting Club was located west of Cleveland at Big Cold Creek, a flowing stream connected to two large ponds, just ten miles south of Sandusky, Ohio. The waterway was known for its "Blue Hole," a deep well of fresh, sparkling water. The fresh water creek and the adjacent ponds were one of two fresh water tributaries in Ohio that were ripe for sustaining species of trout, including brook, rainbow, and brown varieties. In 1868 the owner of the Castalia Milling Company planted trout eggs in the portion of Big Cold Creek that flowed through the company's property. By 1878 when the first iteration of Castalia Sporting Club, the Cold Creek Trout Club, was founded, the creek was populated with trout. When the club was incorporated the following year under president Fayette Brown, the Castalia Milling Company gave members private fishing rights.
During its first ten years of existence, members financed the building of a clubhouse, and ultimately - in 1890 - purchased the property from the Castalia Milling Company. In the same year, the name of the organization was changed to the Castalia Sporting Club.
Members kept thorough records of how often they visited Castalia Sporting Club, the names of their guests, as well as the number, types, and weights of the fish that they caught. Women were permitted as guests of the club, and the names of female relatives and friends appear throughout the club registers after 1882. However, from 1902-08 there was some disagreement among members as to whether or not women should be allowed to partake in club activities. Despite the debate, women's names appear consistently throughout this six-year time span.
Club members also noted environmental discrepancies, especially as they pertained to trout and fishing activities. Between the beginning of December 1912 and the end of January 1913, records indicate that club associates and fish experts removed 1,600 dead trout from Big Cold Creek. The discovery of a fungus growth on the animals' scales was noted in Castalia Sporting Club records.
A decline in membership caused by the financial stresses of the Depression led to the disolution of Castalia Sporting Club in 1936 when the Medusa Portland Cement Company purchased the club deed.