The South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club:
The South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club was formed in 1879 and its first president, Benjamin Ruff, worked diligently to get some of the most prominent men of the Pittsburgh area interested in his venture. The original charter included sixteen men, climbing to 61 in 1889. The members bought shares in the corporation at one hundred dollars apiece, and it seemed almost a requirement to purchase two. Within a few years several cottages and a clubhouse had been built along the shores of the lake. Who owned the cottages is anyone's guess since the only record of who stayed in which cottage belongs to local folklore. But regardless of this matter, the club was a welcome departure from the smoke and dirt of Pittsburgh.
The men that came here hunted, fished, sailed, and had shooting competitions. It was a place far removed from the business of business in Pittsburgh, but not too far, considering the city was only a few hours away by rail.
The South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club
- May 19, 1879
- The club is incorporated as a not for profit organization.
- November 17, 1879
- The charter for the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club is filed in Allegheny County.
- March 15, 1880
- The land is officially granted to the club.
- October 14, 1879
- The first mention of a new club is reported in the Johnstown Tribune.
- December 25, 1879
- The first repairs to the dam washed away.
- Spring 1880
- Under the supervision of Edward Pearson, the repair work to the dam begins.
- The repairs are finished and the lake is stocked with black bass from Lake Erie.
- Death of club's first president, Benjamin Ruff.
- The last cottage to be built at Lake Conemaugh is complete.
- May 31, 1889
- The dam fails.
- The "Johnstown Colony", a group of homeless from that city live in resort buildings.
- June 26, 1901
- The club turns the entire property over to E. B. Alsip, a trustee of the club.
- February 17, 1903
- The property is deeded to George Harshberger.
- February 25, 1904
- Public auction of the club buildings and their contents.
- The town of St. Michael, a community surrounding the old resort, is created.