This will be a fairly short entry because, frankly, I don’t remember the Rod and Gun Club all that well–target shooting generally isn’t a hobby that’s encouraged in most elementary school kids. But it always pops up when mentally sorting through my Heidelberg memories, so I thought it deserved a post. I surprised myself by being able to easily find it via google maps…you can check out the satellite view here, and I also found its official website. The site says that it is right next to a golf course, which I don’t recall, but that was a big enough clue for me to quickly find it by looking outward from PHV. If you zoom out a little on the satellite view and just scroll a bit north-by-northeast, you’ll find PHV. I didn’t recall them being in such close proximity.
One of the big memories of going to the Rod and Gun Club was just getting there. The area south of Heidelberg is open farmland–I vaguely recall that some of that land grows asparagus, specifically white asparagus, but I could be way off. Anyway, you would drive through this open terrain for a little while and then enter a heavily forested area. This wooded area really stands out in my mind, and I’m not exactly sure why. Perhaps it was the striking change from the farmland, or maybe it was particularly picturesque. I remember driving through these woods for a bit, feeling a bit out in the wilderness, and then you’d turn a corner and there was the parking lot.
We kids basically spent our time bored in the big L-shaped building next to the parking lot while one or both parents went to the shooting ranges off to the side. I remember a large wood-furnished room with long tables that felt more or less like a hunting lodge. The room probably hosted a lot of festive events, but was always mostly deserted when we went during the middle of the day. At one end was a bar, and the big reward for going to the club was being able to order a Shirley Temple, a drink I still associate with this particular room.
The other memory I have is looking out the large picture windows at the back yard area. In the satellite view it looks like it’s now just an open area with some picnic tables scattered around, but I vividly remember that there used to be an elaborate wooden obstacle course back there and I was always dying to go out there and play around on it. I think it was a roughly oval course, and one obstacle in particular sticks out in my mind–a series of logs sticking vertically out of the ground at different heights, so that your run would take you up and down the various elevations before you arrived back at solid ground and moved on to the next obstacle. It seemed like a really neat playground to me, but was probably intended for more serious physical training.
And that’s really the extent of my recollections about the Rod and Gun Club. I know that an adult would have an entirely different view of the place, and the official site I linked earlier shows that there are a lot more activities than just the shooting ranges I knew about (I heard the gunfire but not sure I was ever allowed over there). Also, I see from the satellite view that they now have what looks like two sizeable paintball fields just east of the parking lot. Perhaps the club is more well-known to kids living in PHV today, due to the availability of that hobby.