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CHAGRIN VALLEY HUNT CLUB

CHAGRIN VALLEY HUNT CLUB

The CHAGRIN VALLEY HUNT CLUB, located in GATES MILLS, began in Sept. 1908 at a gathering at Tannenbaum Farm, the Waite Hill home of CHAS. A. OTIS, JR., Cleveland industrialist and sportsman. Otis and a group of like-minded Clevelanders who enjoyed horseback riding and jumping decided to revive foxhunting in the Cleveland area. (An earlier organization, the Cleveland Hunt, had existed from 1897-99.) Originally called the Cuyahoga County Cross-Country Riding Assn., the new group soon changed its name to the Chagrin Valley Hunt Club. The pack was kenneled in the Red Barn near the Maple Leaf Inn, and Fred Harland was chosen the first of many kennel huntsmen. The first meet was held 7 Nov. 1908, when Windsor T. White and Sullivan guided the group through the countryside south of Willoughby and in and around Gates Mills. On 1 July 1909, the club purchased the Maple Leaf Inn in Gates Mills, and on 10 July it became incorporated as the Chagrin Valley Hunt Club Co. Membership rules were again changed to accommodate first 100, then 150 members. The first official Board of Directors meeting elected E. A. Merritt president and Windsor T. White master of the foxhounds, a position he held until 1928. Through the years, club members--including many women--dressed in formal hunting attire have continued to follow the hounds through Gates Mills, HUNTING VALLEY, and nearby Amish farmlands. Membership has continued to expand (300) and includes many descendants of the founders. In Jan. 1994 a fire destroyed the main clubhouse, a local landmark for many years. The organization, however, remains active.