In 1956, a group of rifle shooters got together to form what is now South River Gun Club. At that time, the club was known as Gate City Gun Club. The shooters were primarily bench rest rifle shooters. The Charter Members were T.C. Kennon, Gene Kline, Roland Roberts, Bill Woodward, Lee Sorrells, Sr., Dr. Jack Delk, Marion Key, Charlie Johnson, and G.J. Dye.
In looking for a place to shoot, they found a spot about 1/2 mile outside the Atlanta City Limits in an old abandoned rock quarry (behind what is now Moreland Avenue Shopping Center). The Club leased the property from the owner and stayed at this location for eight years. When this property was condemned, the members again started looking for a new site. This time, the favored spot was Panola Road, which is presently Fairington Condos at I-20. After contacting the owner, Mr. Raspass, they found him to be a very civic minded man and interested in their project to relocate the club. He sent machinery out to make a road to the shooting site. The Club was allowed to stay free of charge until the property was sold. While there, the members built a 100 & 200 yard rifle range, one skeet and trap field, and a 50 yard pistol range with fixed targets. The skeet machines were hand cocked manual throwers, with the use of a 6 volt battery attached to a member's car for release. In 1967, the Club received notice the land was being sold and they would have one year to relocate.
Jim McNichlous and his nephew, Bill Taff, found 67 acres in Newton County (the original owner was Mr. Chester King). A corporation was formed by approximately 20 members and each member was asked to purchase stock in the corporation. Mr. T.E. Robinson from Jackson, Georgia financed the loan, which was paid off in September, 1975.
In 1968, the Club built the first shooting range, a 25 firing point bulls eye range with turning targets. Two skeet fields were also built this year. In 1969, two more skeet fields were added, and in October, 1969, the first registered skeet match was held. In 1971, a 300 rifle range and the fifth skeet field was added.
The Clubhouse was built in 1971. This project was a joint venture of Club Members. Some members furnished materials and others furnished the elbow grease necessary to build it.
In 1972, the first trap field was added. In 1975, the combat pistol range (now a parking lot!) was added and eight more trap fields were built. The addition of the trap fields made it possible for the Club to host the Southern Zone ATA Trap shoot. At the time, Gate City was the only existing club in Georgia with nine fields.
In 1977, the Club felt the need to hire a resident manager, purchased a house trailer and hired a full time manager.
In 1986, Mr. L.L. Evans, Jr., owner of Evans Tool & Die, Inc. of Conyers, Georgia (the present owners) bought the club from the stockholders of Gate City and renamed it to South River Gun Club.
At the present time, South River Gun Club has broken all previous membership records with a membership list of over 757 members.
(Webmaster's Note: This material was reprinted from a document titled "The History of Gate City Gun Club, June 1984, Author Unknown; webmaster's comments and additions appear throughout the article.)