ABOUT AGAWAM HUNT
Agawam Hunt is a family-friendly, private sporting club located on 130 wooded, riverside acres in Rumford, RI, just over the river from Providence's East Side.
Officially founded in 1897 as a fox hunting club, the Club is known as an exceptional sporting Club in Southern New England. Since its early years, Agawam has evolved - with our active membership - into the Club it is today - a welcoming sporting Club that meets the needs of today's young families while honoring its long history and revered traditions.
The Constitution of 1895 proclaimed in Article I: “This club shall be called the ‘AGAWAM HUNT.'" Article II: described its mission simply: “The Agawam Hunt” is organized to encourage and furnish for its members the means of drag hunting and other out-of-door sports.” 21 Active Members – 130 Associate Members
The Agawam Hunt resigned from the National Hunt Association. Two years later there was a vote to change the name from “Agawam Hunt” to “Agawam Club”; it was unanimously defeated. The constitution of the Agawam Hunt was officially adopted on February 23, 1895, and Article XI stated: “Any active member not intending to follow the hounds during the hunting season, may extend such privilege to any one person…”
The Club was formally incorporated and chartered by the state of Rhode Island on March 30, 1897, the date that marks its official beginning.
Card playing members were given two new packs of cards at the beginning of their game, then charged .25 a corner after which old cards were returned and resold to members. $1.75 for regular club dinners was “astronomical price and that it was driving away many of the younger members.” Two menus were established – regular and less expensive. It was later reported that the restaurant made money for the first time in many years. Minimum monthly restaurant charges of $10 a person were established.
Thursday buffets were established. This was the only night that ladies could enter the Men’s Grille Room. Ladies also entered the Clubhouse via the “Ladies Entrance.”
Paddle tennis was popular for a few years between 1938 and mid-1940’s.
It was suggested that Thursday buffets continue, since Thursday was “maids day off.”
Mr. Benjamin L. Cook, the first MFH of the Jacobs Hill Hunt Club (which by then had been dissolved), presented to the Agawam the whip which had belonged to Mr. William W. Weeden, first MFH of the Agawam Hunt. It resides today high on a cross beam in the bar/lounge area.”
The first two women were hired by the Club to supervise young children’s activities.
OUR HISTORY FROM 1870
Providence County Hunt preceded the Agawam Hunt at the Choppiquansett Estate in Warwick. In 1872 the estate's mansion was destroyed in a fire.
The hunt was renamed the Agawam Hunt and the group rented the Underwood farmhouse in East Providence which, with additions, is where the Clubhouse remains today.
“During the 1890’s, crusades for physical vigor swept the educated classes in both Europe and America…The cult of the strenuous life,” which culminated in the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt swept Providence as well. At the same time, the “educated classes” were seeking a sanctuary for themselves and their interests. Such a place would become a refuge, an oasis that offered shelter and possible protection from danger or distress, and when older members speak of their early memories of the Agawam Hunt, they refer to it in just such terms. They liked the Agawam Hunt because it was cozy, informal and selective. It offered the illusion of changelessness, a domain which could maintain its own comforting rite and rituals amid the bustling industrialism of the expanding city.”
Walter Hidden became the first president and along with a Secretary, a Treasurer, the MFH, (Master of Fox Hounds) and one other member of the club formed the first Executive Committee.
Rumford Chemical Works land east of the Rumford Road (now Broadway) was purchased, doubling the dues to $20.00 per year. leased land from Nathaniel Bishop’s estate for ten years and bought in 1906.
First squash courts were built.
Two story rear addition and interior improvements in the Underwood farmhouse, designed by Edmund R. Wilson including living room, porch, Men’s Grille Room, bar and kitchen.
June 12, 1919 it was voted that as of January 16, 1920, no liquor be sold at the Club contrary to law. In 1934, after Prohibition was repealed, the club applied for a license to sell hard liquor.
It was voted to allow members to use the stable for saddle horses on the condition that they hire a man, who would become a Club employee, to do their work, for a cost of $1.00/week per horse for those members.
Memorial Day - Pool was dedicated, soon followed by babysitters, lifeguards, walkways, fences, outdoor stairs to the men’s locker room, snack bar.
The new Grille Room was built and ladies were then allowed to use that entrance but still not allowed to dine there. Another addition to first & second floor - Brown room, slightly enlarging kitchen, second floor men’s lounge.
The sport of Paddle Tennis was revived and two wooden courts were built where the two clay tennis courts previously were. It was well received for 10 years during which an active schedule was maintained including the Tri-City Paddle Tennis Tournament, and the annual Rhode Island Invitational Tournament.
The first day camp was organized, but was not well received.
The first woman, Mary Worrell, was named to serve on the Board and run the pool activities.
Day camp was reinstituted and successfully run by Juniors Committee.
Due to lack of interest once again, Paddle Tennis courts began to deteriorate and were torn down. Croquet, trap shooting, lawn bowling, winter ice skating on the former clay tennis courts are other sports that have come and gone during the history of Agawam.
A Centennial Celebration was planned and took place on the weekend of June 13-15, 1997 with activities for all ages culminating with a gala Centennial Ball. A time capsule has been planted on June 15, 1997 not to be unearthed until the bicentennial in 2097!
The Club is sold to New Agawam, LLC on March 19, 2018 and through a unique partnership with The Nature Conservancy, development rights to the inside 11 holes of the golf course are sold to ensure the space remains free of development in perpetuity.