Note: This writing is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if written today. Happily, views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and interpersonal relations have changed since Clark penned the Antelope Club’s “Short History” in the mid-1970s. The Club of today welcomes all (yes, even women!!) and though we’re not sure if there are any actual antelope hunters in our midst, our members wholeheartedly embrace the traditions that our founders held so dear: camaraderie, fellowship and enlightenment over a few “cold ones”.
Short History of the Antelope Club (the first 30 years)
Much water has passed over the dam and under the bridge since about 36 of Indianapolis’ best elbow headers met in Hussey's Tavern in the 900 block of Little Broadway in the year of 1947.
There they went to the tables, stuffed themselves after emptying many bottles of various and sundry alcoholic beverages, and then returned to the bar where they proceeded to spin many a tall tale to one another.
A good time was had by all, even if some of the boys did not get home for a couple of days and many a wife was as cold as ice water for a week or so.
Among the last to depart from the festivities were three: namely, Clark, Carnegie and Pollak, who “allowed as how" this had been so much fun and the police had not raided the affair (since several ofﬁcers were in attendance) we should meet more often.
Thereafter, there were many sessions at Hussey's, primarily for imbibing and good fellowship. until either the genial owner, Jim Hussey, ran us out or we out-grew the place.
Then, history records, some of the boys were staggering or stumbling north on Little Broadway when they came across the second floor bar at La Rues. There was an immediate affection for the place. Partly, because of the kind bartender named Father Broyles, partly because of the only female permitted in the bar who went by various nicknames such as “Short Stop,” “Betty Boop” and “Iron Pants” and, who also placed our horse bets; and partly because it was easy to leave by just falling down the stairs.
The group thrived at La Rues and many others joined the “fun and games" on the second floor.
It was here that some dumb bastard came up with the idea of going to the state of Wyoming each year to shoot antelope, who hadn't done a thing to us, bring back the meat and hold an annual dinner in January, eat the damn meat and have a “Man of the Year” party. All this to the strains of Denny Dutton and his rhythm boys and the ﬂawless direction and production of skits by Cecil B. Carnegie, Rhodes, Vance, Phillipe, and Clark.
These hunts and parties still go on. The parties used to last for about three days, but have gotten shorter either because of the days and nights are longer or the group is older. In any event, the amount of “booze” consumed far outweighs the amount of antelope meat eaten.
Among the early men of the year were Frank McKinney Sr., Ed French, Sr., Former Governor Harold Hanley, Former Sheriff Dan Smith and our First President Al Shilling, to name a few.
Another event the “fun loving rovers" organized was an annual trip on one of the Sunday qualification days in May to the 500 Mile Race. In the early days after the club was really incorporated, this trip was used as a vehicle to collect the dues. Much fun was had by all after a friendly admonition. We never saw too many race cars and after we read the paper the next day, we awarded some money to the driver that had the worst luck that qualification day.
We also tried to sponsor a baseball night at the Indian’s park. However, after several outings. we were told to “knock it off.” We were causing the ball team to lose all its confidence, as well as its games.
In those days, Little Broadway was a lively section of town and all the members scattered in their play from Hussey’s on the south to Al Meyers on the north. Ed French, Sr. was the proclaimed Chief of Police of Little Broadway and sampled her wares to give his constituents confidence. On Little Broadway, one could find many friends to while away the early or late hours, as the case might be, in doing what real men liked and wanted to do. There was a lot of action. We never worried about "queers." (inside or outside the law), muggings or an over-abundance of law enforcement; for we had good camaraderie and if anyone got hurt. he usually did it to himself.
Along about June of 1956, a few of the boys, probably under the direction of Dick Munter, and under the influence, decided we had arrived and that our group should be incorporated with the Secretary of State of Indiana in the State Capital. This was done, in spite of the fact that no one knew how to spell “incorporation” or find the State House. They decided they needed a Grand Antler and wired a fellow named Clark, who was in Washington, D.C. trying to see if there was anything there to "pluck" having “plucked” clean the people of Indianapolis the prior four years. Clark responded somewhat as follows: “Never having been to the State of Wyoming and ‘plucked’ an antelope, I accept the challenge of being Grand Antler. Especially when it means being the leader of such a moral, clean-living and abstaining bunch of bastards." With that the Wyoming Hunters Protective Association. Inc. was duly incorporated on June 12, 1956, and launched.
The original purposes of the association were drafted by Tom Quinn, Sr., at the Washington Hotel bar and among other things, said the purpose of this corporation were as follows:
These were subsequently modiﬁed at the request of the I.R.S. to qualify the club for a non-proﬁt status.
Several years later either the Highway Department of Indiana or Harley Horton ended our stay at La Rues. The Highway Department, because it wanted the grounds for a better use than we were putting it to, and Horton because of some of the uses we were putting the grounds to.
We moved to the Mecca Club on Central, where they were glad to get us, not so much for ourselves, but the revenue our debauchery brought in.
After being at the Mecca for a while, an opportunity to purchase our present site arose. A “Mr. and Mrs.” car rafﬂe was held under our then-President Red Dellen and our able Treasurer Troy Hallowell and about $8,400.00 was raised for a down payment on 615 North Delaware. After that, a meeting was called at the Speedway Holiday Inn and on motion made and passed, many certificates were sold for $100.00 each, raising approximately $22,000. (Judge Paul Lustgarten buying the first one) and 615 North Delaware was purchased for $35,000.
We weren't too unhappy to leave because of the lovely disposition of our hostess Nina Huffman. She was so sweet.
After explaining to the Indianapolis Zoning Board we weren't going to shoot antelope in the city limits, we were zoned, mortgaged, and work began.
You all remember the hard work that went into building the club and getting it in shape, under the able direction of Bill O‘Rorke. Then on the 10th day of April, 1964, we had the grand opening.
In 1967, the apartment and land across the street became available, and after the few meetings and many drinks, the officers and board decided to buy the land and got a Scotchman to get a mortgage of $110,000.00 at 7% on June 9, 1967, for all we owned and a Pollock to wreck the apartment. We now had, in addition to a “watering hole," a parking lot for our members to park in and take a taxi home to “mother or whatever."
We all belong to other clubs, but none of us can think of one that has grown as fast and that today is in as good shape ﬁnancially, where there is as much good fun and which, in spite of its reputation, does contribute to worthwhile causes.
Over the years, we have given thousands of dollars to the PAL Summer Camp; assisted financially with the Basketball Hall of Fame, the Oldtimers, a blood bank, and probably most important, several scholarships to young men from Marion County to Butler University, Marian College, Indiana Central University and Vincennes University. We are sending our third boy through Butler for a total of 11 years on the Harry Hungate Scholarship which is one for $1,000 per year totaling $11,000. We have also helped a young man for several years at Brebeuf.
Around the bar or card room there is always help for a worthy cause when the occasion arises—to wit-—when Joe Pickett asked on the radio for help for the tornado victims in Monticello, Indiana. After a few drinks. and an admonition from Joe that “we were on the air," several hundred dollars were raised.
We still have the Antelope Hunters who go to Wyoming and, thank God. still kill antelope and not themselves. They have come close to jail, been fined and lost their guns, but still bring back that damn meat for the annual Man of the Year Dinner.
We also have the Anglers Club that still claims they catch the fish and don’t buy them.
So far, thank the Lord, we don't have a woman's auxiliary.
We have Monday night football parties, Las Vegas nights, Octoberfests, and ethnic dinner nights, with Jews, Italians, Syrians, Irish and Polocks all trying to out-do one another.
Two big annual events are the children's picnic at which all the members behave for once and try to be good fathers and husbands. even if it hurts. Also, the children's Christmas party, which is held annually from 12:00 Noon until 3:00 P.M. and at which one of the members plays Santa. After three hours, the fathers can't stand the kids and Santa can't stand up.
In conclusion, I should like to borrow a few verses from an Oliver Wendell Holmes poem, which we all hope will be the attitude of our membership for many years to come.
Has there any old fellow got mixed with the boys?
Alex M. Clark, former Mayor of Indianapolis