What do Teddy Roosevelt, King Gustaf of Sweden, the Prince of Wales and Pope Pius XII all have in common, as it relates to Huntington Beach?
They all visited the Bolsa Chica Gun Club.
Opened around 1900 on property that is now the Bolsa Chica wetlands, the club boasted a beautiful redwood and cedar hunting lodge and many amenities catering to the well-heeled duck hunters of the day. Initially, membership in the club was limited to 40 with an initial membership fee of $1,000 and annual dues of $60, making it one of the most exclusive clubs in the area.
I've learned much about what I know about the club from my friend David Carlberg, renowned microbiologist, environmental activist and author of several books, including the exceptional "Bolsa Chica — Its History From Prehistoric Time to the Present."
David, along with his wife, Margaret, has long been active in the Amigos de Bolsa Chica. But he also has a keen interest in the history of the gun club, which is why I arranged for us to actually walk the site of the club's ruins. Neither of us had ever had access across the fence, and so recently he, my son and I were led on a walking tour by Taylor Van Berkum from Fish and Game. (Thank you to Reserve Manager Carla Navarro for arranging our visit.)