Lake County Duplicate Bridge Clubs, Inc.



History of the
Lake County
Duplicate Bridge Clubs, Inc.
By Bob Houtz

By 1984 the players of the five ACBL accredited bridge clubs of Eustis, Leesburg, Mount Dora, Tavares and Umatilla were tired of playing in ever-changing locations such as rented garages, train station baggage rooms, civic centers, community recreation rooms and others.  Margo Marr, Tavares DBC owner, dreamed of forming one central clubhouse and prevailed on the combined clubs to bank together toward that goal.  Good progress was made and it was agreed to consolidate into the Lake County Bridge Association.  In starting a nest egg and getting the ball rolling, it was agreed that each club raise their playing fees 50 cents to be deposited In the new club’s treasury.

Those extra fees eventually accumulated enough money to purchase the lot from the City of Eustis on which our clubhouse stands.  Through the course of that year and the next two, the idea gained momentum and enthusiasm.  Raising money began in earnest and everyone seemed to pitch in.  Well into 1986 the LCDBC was underway electing its Board of Directors: Opal Bryan, Grace Shirley, Margo Marr and Christine Dinsmoore. 



A knowledgeable Building Committee of Bill Elmore, Sam Moreno, Bill Neal, Emerson Wertz and Shirley Seavey was appointed and they extensively explored locations, structures and prospective contractors.  They recommended that a 3,000 square foot building, complete with utilities and kitchen, be built by the Hoffmeister Construction Company at a cost not to exceed $76,000.

Emerson Wertz offered a first mortgage at half that amount for 8% if the membership matched the other half.  Highly respected George Measel recommended that the money be raised by soliciting non-interest bearing pledges in increments of $100 from the membership, and in no time at all matching pledges of $38,000 were realized.

Grace Shirley entered into a giant garage-sale program in Umatilla made up of contributions of items from the members’ attics and garages.  Her hard work paid off handsomely adding many thousands of dollars to the growing treasury.  Jean Bornman organized and directed some 20 team-of-four “Big Swiss” bridge tournaments.  They were a resounding success enjoying 40 to 60 tables of day-long affairs, serving two delicious meals prepared by the members and earning many thousands of dollars.

With success assured, ground was broken November 6, 1986.  Amazingly, this group of some 150 members continued their fund raising through the next five years, enabling them to retire the mortgage and pay back all the cash pledges by 1992, owning the building free and clear with a cash reserve.