The German American Marksmanship Club (Deutsch-Amerikanischer Schützenverein, D.A.S.V.) was founded on the 22nd of July 1939 in the Swiss Hall, located on the corner of Canton and Forest Avenues in Detroit, Michigan. The aim of the organization was , and remains today, to provide the opportunity for like-minded individuals to gather, incorporation responsible hunting and environmental stewardship, was well as a means to preserve the German language, culture, customs and traditions - exclusive of any political or religious activities or endeavors. The goal was to become good citizens of their new home, the United States of America and to accept, and honor, its Constitution as their own.
The eight original founding members were Lorenz Eilinghoff, Ernst Filthaut, Paul Jebing, Paul Kroll, Joseph Schneider, Emil Schulte, Robert Tappe and Arthur Wissmann. Twenty-seven men were present at the inaugural meeting where Ernst Filthaut was elected as the first President.
On July 4th, 1939 the first Schützenfest (Marksmen's Festival) was held at Emil Schulte's Park, on the banks of the Clinton River in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. Emil Schulte's Park was christened for the occasion as the Schützenwald (Marksmen's Forest), where the marksmen had the opportunity to shoot for the positions of King and that of the Court. The first "Schützenkönig" (Marksmen's King) crowned was Wilhelm Reinhardt.
Unfortunately it would be 10 years before the next King would be crowned, as the D.A.S.V. was not immune to the turbulence that arose from events overseas. Some two-dozen or so men fell from the membership ranks, as some members were called to military service. The remaining members were charged with the task of keeping the club alive. During this period, no shooting competitions were held. As the war came to an end, the ranks were once again filled, and attention could be directed toward the future. Back in Germany, the homeland, the need was great and the D.A.S.V. was there to assist in relief efforts through the assembly and shipment of care packages.
Slowly the organization was rebuilt, and from thence forth, on the last Sunday in July, a Marksmen's Festival, the Schützenfest was held annually. A Kings ball was instituted every October following the Schützenfest to honor the recipient.
The Wanderpokal (Traveling Trophy) shoot against the Kolping Schützen was, and remains, a brisk and spirited competition. In the winter, the Schützen gathered to shoot in the basement of some members homes. This practice continues today in the lower level of our clubhouse.
On New Years Eve, the 31st of December 1965, President Max Kirstein, passed away, unexpectedly, and far too soon. In his honor, the Max Kirstein Pokal (Trophy), with the inscription "Zuzammenhalten ist uns Lehre, Verpflichtung tragen ist uns Ehre" - speaking to the club's commintment to unity, and sense of duty and service - was dedicated. Walter Reinhardt became the first Pokalsieger (Trophy winner) in 1966, and this shoot is still held every October.
Prior to 1968, the Schützen did not have a permanent home. This changed when the D.A.S.V. entered into an agreement with the Greater Beneficial Union - District 701 to merge. On the 20th of February 1968, thirty-five members of the Schützen affiliated with the G.B.U., and in May officially changed their name to the Deutsch-Amerikanischer Schützenverein, Inc., or German American Marksmen's Club, Inc. Through this union the D.A.S.V. acquired the Schützenhaus, located in Auburn Hills along with the Schützenpark. That same year the Dance Pavilion was erected on the property. In June 1971 the Bierhaus, our outdoor bar, was added.
As time marched on, so did progress, and a Ladies Auxiliary, headed by Hildegard Leiting, was founded in May of 1973. Ultimately, women were granted full membership rights and allowed to participate in prize shooting.
In the following years the D.A.S.V. had the opportunity to acquire additional land south of the Clinton River in exchange for a neighboring parcel. With the addition of the "Park Kitchen" and the outdoor Shooting Stand, the Schützenpark was finished, and ready to accommodate all outdoor events. The club's Werner Hohlstein oversaw the construction of the living-quarters on the top-level of the Schützenhaus.
In December 1986, long time member John Haumann was recognized for his exceptional service to the organization with the honorary title of "Ehrenpräsident" (Honorary President). Our master marksman, Oskar Pscheidl, accepted the crown of Schützenkönig for the 4th time in 1987, and has further marked his position by hoisting the Winterpokal (Winter Trophy) an impressive six times. He has since seen serious challenges from Siegfried Arndt, who had accumulated an impressive array of medals and trophies of his own, as well as many of our other accomplished shooters.
Today, the D.A.S.V. is affiliated with the Michigan United Conservation Clubs (M.U.C.C.), a group that, at the time of affiliation, already had over 6,000 members. Additionally, the club is a member of the German American Cultural Center (G.A.C.C.).
Today, we can say with pride, that the German American Marksmanship Club is a community for all friends of the shooting sports founded on the principal of camaraderie.
Marianne Krenzer - trans./ K. and C. Burney