Izaak Walton League of America - Frederick Chapter Est. 1923

Frederick Chapter History

CHAPTER HISTORY

"There was a lot of wild hunting and fishing...the Izaak Walton League helped stop that" said G. Hunter Bowers, a charter member of the Frederick Chapter #1.

    1922    The National Izaak Walton League was formed in Chicago, Illinois.

    1923    The Frederick Chapter was chartered in September.  To the best of our research, the Frederick Chapter was the first in Maryland and is one of the two oldest chapters in the nation.  Fifty members signed the charter that proudly hangs in the Chapter house on Reels Mill Road just outside of Frederick City.   Hunter Bowers, remembers that hunting and fishing laws were just being established and it was often difficult to convince many outdoorsmen that seasons and limits were needed and must be lawfully enforced.  The Frederick Chapter began to encourage outdoor and hunter ethics as early as 1923.

    Chapter meetings were held in the YMCA Building and later in the National Guard Armory.  To reach your favorite fishing hole, a horse and buggy carried you along a dirt road to the Chesapeake Bay, the Potomac River and to the trout streams of north west Frederick County.

    1948    The Chapter membership agreed to meet at a country tavern on old Route 240 south of Frederick near the Monocacy River bridge.  Membership flourished.

    1949    The Frederick Chapter earned the National Award for the greatest membership increase in a single year. 

    1953    By the mid fifties, the meetings moved to the Frederick Hotel in downtown Frederick.  The State of Maryland granted the Articles of Incorporation to the Chapter.  A few years later, Chapter member Lewis Battistone, county tavern, architect and farm owner, gave the Frederick Chapter four and one half acres on Reels Mill Road for the purpose of building a meeting place. The gift of land to the Chapter inspired the members to plan a chapter house for meeting and other events.  With the energy of the Building Committee, headed by "Buzz" Baumgardner, the Chapter house of stone and vertical cedar siding was constructed using mostly volunteers. It was also financed by bonds purchased by members. 

    1963    The new club house and gun range was dedicated by the IWLA National President Jack Binford.  The early 1960's continued to be active with the Chapter sponsoring a national competition to build a better squirrel box for increasing the squirrel population.  The box would have to be one that squirrels would readily enter, could withstand weather and the test of time, and could be constructed inexpensively for wide use of conservation groups. Squirrel populations were showing a steady decline as their homes were lost to timbering.The contest featured  $1,000 in prize money and was nationwide in scope. Entries by the hundreds were received from across the country.  The winner was from Michigan and the 2nd and 3rd places were taken by designers in Arizona and Wisconsin. The Wood Duck box program also received much attention as hundreds of nesting boxes were installed along stream bottoms.

    1970    The seventies were a period of conservation activities, including stream clean-ups, tree planting, installation of duck and squirrel boxes, hosting scout troops and conducting dog trials. 

    1980    Like so many chapters, a period of slowdown occurred during the eighties.  Sensing the need for assisting small chapters to rebuild, the Maryland Division suggested that large, thriving chapters become big brothers to waning ones. Charlie and Leila Wiles from the Wildlife Chapter received endorsements from the Wildlife "Ikes", as they are known, to serve as a big brother to the Frederick Chapter and assist in building new activities.  By 1989 the Wiles' worked with Buzz Baumgardner, who had now served the Chapter for 35 years, began recruiting new members and sponsoring new programs.  It was during this tike that Hunter Safety programs were introduced with the help of the Wildlife Achievement Chapter. The Chapter leadership was extended to the Maryland Division during the past several years as two time past Chapter President "Buzz" Baumgardner, Jr. became State Vice President for Region I.  Although still a small chapter, it has twice earned the Maryland Division Ike Builders Award for conservation and membership. Frederick Chapter #1 is located in fast growing Frederick County where recreational shooting is becoming more confined and restricted due to population growth. To help provide safe shooting facilities for members and the public, the Chapter embarked on a refurbishing of it's outdoor ranges.

    1990    The younger, energetic membership of the 1990's was very much outdoors-oriented trips occurring many times a year. Their trips included West Virginia canoe trips and Chesapeake Bay charter fishing trips, dove hunting each fall.

    1991    A junior air rifle program was started to help young people become safe shooters. 

    1997    The Frederick Chapter #1 started a formal  Youth Program to teach young people about outdoor education and hunter safety.

    2001    May Board Meeting it was approve to require a NRA Range Safety Officers on the Gun Range at all times.  The Requirement was to make the Gun Range safer for everyone.

    2008    New central heating and air condition was install for the first floor. Thanks to Eugene & Ellie Kisch and Wells Fargo for donating 25% of the cost and Jones Heating and Air Condition for installing it.

    2011     The chapter build a new pavilion.  It took twelve year of saving and planning to make this happen.