The history of Ox Ridge
Published 11:16 am, Thursday, June 10, 2010
The Club began in 1911 "by a group of men who had been riding through the upper part of town for some time previous, and the Ox Ridge Hunt Club came as a natural development," according to the Corbin Document, a compilation of town records, put together by former First Selectman J. Benjamin Corbin in 1946.
The property currently consists of 37 acres, but was originally seated on 67 acres, between Middlesex Road and Mansfield Avenue. The land was purchased from John McCormack, an opera singer, who operated a dairy farm on the property.
The original clubhouse is now a private residence, located at 600 Middlesex Road, according to documents from the Darien Historical Society.
"The lounge was once John's milk house, and the Clubhouse was his icehouse, both converted handsomely to their present purpose," according to historical information provided by the Club. "The polo barn housed dairy cattle until the barn was converted to stable horses. The Club's name in itself represents the use of oxen in John's operation, as well as the ridge that crowns our polo field."
The development of the club was delayed when America entered World War I, and many of the members entered the service, but the club was reorganized in 1922, and was recognized by the Master of Fox Hounds Associated of America, the Corbin Document states.
The first annual horse show took place in 1926.
"By 1928, hunting was established on a permanent basis, and the hunt uniform, dark green with orange collar and waistcoat was a familiar sight in the autumn as horses and hound flashed through the fields of the back country," according to the Corbin Document.
Polo was also a familiar sight; the large field facing Middlesex Road is still known as the polo field, though the sport has not been played there in several years.