Antelope Club

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The Antelope Club
TypePrivate club
Headquarters615 N. Delaware St. Indianapolis, Indiana 46204

The Antelope Club (legally the Wyoming Antelope Hunter's Protective Association, Inc.)[1] is a non-profit social club in Indianapolis, Indiana. It is governed by a nine-member volunteer board of directors, elected by club members. The Antelope Club is one of the very few establishments in Indianapolis which still permit smoking indoors. The preferred nomenclature for a member is 'Loper'.

The Antelope Club has membership reciprocity with over 100 social clubs across the United States and Canada.

Membership requirements[edit]

Membership in the Antelope Club is open to men and women over the age of 21. Dues are $200 a year and membership applications require the signatures of two existing members.

Board of directors[edit]

2018 Board of Directors

The board of directors consists of 9 voting members who serve three-year terms. Each year, three seats are open for election. The executive committee (consisting of the President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer) is elected among the board.

Club history[edit]

In 1947, a group of Indianapolis men began meeting regularly to drink at Jim Hussey's Sportsman's Club at 934 N. Pennsylvania St (in the block known as "Little Broadway").[2][3] When they outgrew Hussey's, they began to meet on the second floor of La Rue's Supper Club, at 1121 N. Pennsylvania Ave.[4][5] There, it was suggested that the men begin an annual trip to Douglas, Wyoming to hunt Antelope.[6][7] The meat from these trips would be brought back to Indianapolis and served at an annual 'Man of the Year' party, where one deserving man would be roasted and honored for contributions to the community or the club. Later, other events were organized, including holiday parties, fishing trips, charity fundraisers, and excursions to the Indianapolis Speedway to attend qualifications and the Indianapolis 500.

Charter members of the club included Indianapolis Mayor Alex Clark, Indiana Governor Harold W. Handley, Olympic Silver medalist in swimming Frank McKinney Sr., Sheriff Dan Smith, Ed French (owner of Monarch Beverage),[8] and the first Club President, Al Schilling.

A postcard announcing the opening of the Antelope Club in April, 1964

The Antelope Club was officially chartered on June 12 of 1956 as the Indiana Chapter of the Wyoming Antelope Club. Mayor Alex Clark was named the 'Grand Antler,' and local business executive Al Schilling was named the first president. The association's charter was drafted by Tom Quinn Sr. at the bar of the Hotel Washington and outlined the club's purpose:

The bar of the Antelope Club on opening in 1964
  • To protect and preserve wildlife and fish, lakes and streams,
  • To promote and encourage athletics among juveniles and juvenile organizations,
  • To promote and encourage good fellowship among members,
  • To own and operate a facility or facilities to afford the opportunity for personal contact, co-mingling, and socializing among members.

In April 1960, LaRue's came under investigation regarding 18 phone lines that were allegedly used to conduct illegal gambling. The Antelope Club, along with other organizations that met at LaRue's, was expelled. [9]

In February 1963, the club began meeting at space shared with the Mecca Club,[10][11] which was then located at 1421 North Central Ave. After a split with the Mecca Club (allegedly after a reveler broke and fell out of a second-story window), it was decided that the club should find its own space.

In July 1963, the club held a car raffle to raise $8,400 for a down payment on the house at 615 N. Delaware St. A meeting was held at the Holiday Inn at 4665 West 16th Street in Speedway, Indiana[12] where a motion was made and passed to sell club equity shares for $100 each. Judge Paul Lustgarten[13] purchased the first share, and approximately $22,000 was raised. After extensive renovation to the property,[14] the club grand opening was held on April 10, 1964. The $35,000 mortgage would be paid off in 1977.[15]

The Antelope Club Mortgage Burning Party, June 1977

In 1966, the Antelope Club donated funds to the Indianapolis Zoo for the purchase of three antelope.[16]

In 1967, an apartment block across Delaware street became available. On June 9, the club took out a $110,000 mortgage and purchased the property. On December 2, the apartment building was demolished, and a parking lot was built.[17][18]

On August 21, 1969, a fire broke out in the rear of the building, causing approximately $10,000 of damage to the kitchen and roof.[19]

In 1975, Club member Charles "Jug" Eckert took a $1,000 bet that he could eat 100 White Castle hamburgers in a single sitting. Several club members walked the two blocks from the club to the White Castle restaurant at Fort Wayne Ave. and Walnut St., where Eckert reportedly ate 102 hamburgers.[20] This effort earned Eckert a listing in the Guinness Book of World Records for having eaten the most White Castle sliders in a single sitting.[21]

In 1978, the club came under investigation by the Indianapolis Police Department for high-stakes poker games occurring on-site. On July 1978, IPD officers conducted a raid on a game at Riley Towers, which was organized by club members.[22]

Like many private clubs, the Antelope Club saw declining membership after 1980, from roughly 1,000 members in 1980 to about 250 in 2004. In early 2005, Jason Barclay and David Wu, staffers of the new Daniels gubernatorial administration were looking for somewhere to socialize. Poking their heads into the Antelope Club and recognizing names such as Alex and Jimmy Clark, Tom Carnegie and Rex Early, they realized they might have found the right place. They joined the club and brought in a whole herd of young Turks who quickly discovered that they enjoyed hearing the stories of the old-timers as much as they enjoyed the club’s tenderloins. In May 2017, membership had rebounded to roughly 515.[23]

On January 3, 2016, a fire broke out in the club basement due to faulty wiring. Club Treasurer Evan Shearin was mildly injured when he entered the basement to attempt to combat the fire. The club was closed for several weeks of repair and renovation during which members met regularly on the second floor of The Elbow Room, at 605 N Pennsylvania St. The Antelope Club was re-opened on February 10, 2016.

In January 2017, the Antelope Club was fined $500 by the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission for illegally serving Yuengling. The fine, stemming from a complaint by a disgruntled Club member, was levied just months before Yuengling was legalized in March, 2017. The club released an apology to the ATC, the media, and the public.[24]

In March 2017 the mounted Jackalope head, that had been a fixture of the Club for decades, was stolen. A reward totaling $550 was offered by club members, but the head has thus far not been recovered. A new Jackalope head was donated by member Sam Goldstein in July 2017.

Joseph C. Gardner, 1921

In December 2019, club President Ashley Miller was profiled in the Indianapolis Star as the first female club president. [25]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Antelope club closed temporarily, but members held periodic video conferences to socialize and keep in touch during quarantine.

Building history[edit]

The building at 615 North Delaware Street was originally constructed in 1898 as a private residence by Joseph C. Gardner and his wife, Minnie Gardner (née Richenmeyer).[26] Joseph Gardner was a worker at, and eventual owner of, his father's sheet-iron company. He later served as the president of the Sheet Metal Contractors Association of Indiana. [27]

City directories list Joseph Gardner residing at the house from 1899 until his death in 1947.[28] It remained vacant until 1952, when it was remodeled to house office space. From 1952 until 1954, two insurance offices, Edward Donaldson's Triangle Insurance Agency and John W. Brouwer's Brouwer Agency, Inc. occupied the house. In 1954, the second floor contained the offices of accountant Donald Weinberg and the Speakman-Devoll Company, who dealt in duplicating machines. The house was again vacant in 1955 before serving as the offices for the Standard Motor Indemnity Insurance Company from 1956 to 1959. The house was vacant once again from 1961 to 1964, when it was purchased by the Antelope Club.

In July 2017, partly funded by a grant from the city of Indianapolis, the club performed a restoration of the building facade. This included re-skinning the awning, replacing signage, repainting, and applying filler to the base of the columns to combat wood rot. The double doors into the dining room were replaced, and second set of doors was installed. Also, the handrail on the brick and concrete steps leading to the sidewalk was replaced.

In early January 2019, the Antelope Club suffered yet another fire. The building was saved, and the club took the opportunity to renovate the bar, dining room, and foyer. New flooring was installed, along with a tin ceiling in the main bar and dining room, new fixtures, and other improvements.

Architectural features[edit]

House Plan 32 from "Convenient Houses with Fifty Plans for the Housekeeper"(1889) by Louis H. Gibson

Originally built as a private residence, the Antelope Club is an example of Neo-Classical architecture. The facade includes Corinthian columns, bay windows, and a second-story balcony. Inside the club is a bar, dining room, game room, two meeting and event rooms, an office, and the Al Schilling Cigar Lounge.

The wood-frame structure rests on a red brick foundation and was originally clad in wood clapboards. It reflects the popular Queen Anne style in its varied roofline and projected bay windows. The house originally featured a metal roof, likely provided by the Joseph Gardner Company. The interior was trimmed with oak and featured large rooms that could be accessed by opening pocket doors. As originally built, the Gardner house resembled Plan No. 32 in the book Convenient Houses with Fifty Plans for the Housekeeper (1889),[29] published by Indianapolis architect Louis H. Gibson. A back porch was added in 1915.

Upon purchase by the Antelope Club, remodeling was undertaken to better suit the club's needs. The front parlor and reception hall were combined into one large dining room and the front wall of the first floor was removed, allowing a new bay window to be installed in place of the original front porch. A new portico with four Corinthian columns was constructed across the front of the house, and the roof of the dining room was converted to a second-story balcony. Rooms in the north east of the house were combined to create a bar. New restrooms were installed, and a one-story breezeway was built over the south side yard to serve as a new entrance.

For many years, a large satellite dish was mounted prominently on the roof of the club. [30]

Notable members[edit]

Indianapolis Mayor and guest of honor Alex Clark (in the cowboy hat) and other Antelope Club members at the 1955 Man of the Year banquet.
Indianapolis Mayor William Hudnut, along with Mayor Alex Clark and friends, at his birthday party held at the Antelope Club. October, 1978.

Photo gallery[edit]


  1. ^ Indiana Secretary of State Business Info
  2. ^ Indiana Memory: Matchbook for Jim Hussey's Sportsman's Bar, Indianapolis, Indiana, ca. 1940
  3. ^ Obituary for Jim Hussey, 'Indianapolis Star' May 7, 1962
  4. ^ Indianapolis Star: Elegant LaRue's Remembered For Great Service and Cuisine
  5. ^ Historic Indianapolis: Larue's Supper Club
  6. ^ Indianapolis Star: Hunt Yield. October 9, 1963
  7. ^ Indianapolis Star: Lyons Cited for Shooting. October 17, 1963
  8. ^ Edwin French Obituary
  9. ^ Indianapolis Star: Club Resumes Normal Business, April 5, 1960.
  10. ^ Indianapolis Star: Johnny Collins, August 21, 1983
  11. ^ Indianapolis Star: Antelope's Dedicate "Home", February 24, 1963.
  12. ^ Antelope Club Plans Dinner and Meeting Indianapolis Star 7/23/1963
  13. ^ Obituary for Judge Paul Lustgarten
  14. ^ Indianapolis Star: Antelope Hunters Set Open House at Club, December 14, 1963
  15. ^ Indianapolis Star: Free at Last, June 12, 1977
  16. ^ Indianapolis Star: Antelopes A-Coming, January 28, 1966
  17. ^ Alex Clark "Antelope Club, The First 30 Years," The Jackalope, July 20, 1977.
  18. ^ Indianapolis Star: 'Music to Demolish By' to Usher Out Landmark, November 17, 1967
  19. ^ Indianapolis Star: Fire Damages Club, August 21, 1969
  20. ^ Will Higgins "That time Dad ate 102 White Castles" 'Indianapolis Star' March 11, 2017
  21. ^ Charles "Jug" Eckert Online Obituary
  22. ^ Indianapolis Star: It's Another Case of the Ones That Got Away, July 16, 1978
  23. ^ J.K. Wall "Private clubs cope with changing times," Indianapolis Star, April 19, 2004, C1.
  24. ^ >Amy Haneline "Private Indy club serves Yuengling early, apologizes, Indianapolis Star, March 1, 2017
  25. ^ Indianapolist Star - Antelope Club Elects First Female President
  26. ^ "Yesterday's Weddings" Indianapolis Journal, November 28, 1889,5;
  27. ^ The American Artisan and Hardware Record: 1921, Volume 81. Chicago: Estate of Daniel Stern. January 1, 1921. p. 5C.
  28. ^ Indianapolis Star: Joseph C. Gardner, Metal Contractor, dies, October 28, 1947
  29. ^ Convenient Houses with Fifty Plans for the Housekeeper by Louis H. Gibson (PDF)
  30. ^ Historic Indianapolis: WTH Wednesday - The Antelope Club
  31. ^ Indianapolis Star: Dove Flutters Over Antelope Club, November 24, 1968
  32. ^ University of Indianapolis Digital Mayoral Archives: Background Information: L. Keith Bulen Archived 2018-01-07 at the Wayback Machine,
  33. ^ University of Indianapolis Digital Mayoral Archives: Antelope Club Man of the Year Award to Keith Bulen, 1966
  34. ^ "University of Indianapolis Digital Mayoral Archives: William H. Hudnut Biography". Archived from the original on 2018-01-07. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
  35. ^ "Logansport Community High School: History of Frank McHale". Archived from the original on 2016-09-04. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
  36. ^ Indianapolis Star: Antelope Club Honors Carnegie, December 15, 1974
  37. ^ Indianapolis Star: Hunter and Bunters
  38. ^ Indianapolis Star: Flashback Ducky Love, May 5, 2001
  39. ^ Indianapolis Star: The man behind the 'chicken limo' set fashion at the Indy 500, May 5, 2017

External links[edit]