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About us and Our Mission
Promoting Community, Recreation & Fun

Our Mission

Fry’s Spring Beach Club is a welcoming community committed to providing year-round recreational and social pursuits for its members and guests in a natural, historic setting.

Black Lives Matter

FSBC acknowledges our club’s racist, shameful past and the pernicious policies that denied membership to people of color from the club’s inception in 1921 into the 1970s, if not much later. As an organization in the 21st century, we have begun to come to terms with the difficult aspects of our history and we take responsibility for the harm FSBC perpetuated over many decades.

FSBC is actively endeavoring to make our pools and green spaces more accessible to the community, and to welcome families who have been historically underrepresented in our membership in order to more accurately reflect our community at large. To this end, we have prioritized outreach initiatives, increasing full membership scholarships and camp scholarships. Our goal is to offer membership scholarships to 10% of our families and free camp and lunch to 25% of our camp participants. We further offer first-time training, mentorship, and employment to local teens through our Teen Employment and Outreach program. Since September, FSBC has partnered with the Jack Jouett Boys and Girls Club so that they could use our ballroom and Garden Terrace rooms to physically distance kids for indoor learning and use our grounds for recreation. These efforts mark the beginning of ongoing efforts toward a more just and equitable present and future.

Our History

Land of the Monocan People

Fry’s Spring Beach Club sits on lands that are the ancestral home of the people of the Monacan nation. Original Land Purchase In 1822, Mary Jane Barksdale married James Francis Fry, the grandson of Joshua Fry, who with Peter Jefferson patented Albemarle County. Barksdale was the granddaughter of Jesse P. Lewis and the daughter of Nelson Barksdale. In 1839 Nelson Barksdale gave his son-in-law about 300 acres along Moore’s Creek, where Fry built his estate, Azalea Hall. On this land is what is today known as Fry’s Spring.

 


Mid-1800s to 1890s – Growing Interest in the Spring

By mid-century, people discovered the therapeutic qualities of Fry’s spring water, and the site of the spring was developed. A few artifacts of that development remain: the ruins of a stone foundation around the spring and a carved stone font, marked “J F FRY 1858,” which is now on display in the clubhouse. Several old, undated photos show a gazebo shading the spring. In 1875 Captain James Harris bought some of the Fry estate and started a trend when he held the first steeplechase in Albemarle County. Other recreational uses followed, and by 1905 The Albemarle Horse Show Association had established its showgrounds on the site, with many shows and exhibits over the following years. In 1892, developer S. Price Maury built the Jefferson Park Hotel on land adjacent to the spring. The hotel served as a resort and spa, and the waters of the spring were promoted as the third most powerful of their kind in the world, attracting those hoping to recover from various ailments. Later, Maury sold the hotel to a streetcar company that continued its operations, and an amusement park called Wonderland opened across the street.

 


1900 to 1920 – Movie Picture Shows and Dettor Purchases Land

In 1910 The Jefferson Park Hotel burned down. Salvaged building materials were then used in the construction of several nearby homes. The local trolley company bought the land and expanded “Wonderland” offerings to include the first moving picture shows in Charlottesville, among other attractions. In 1920, J. Russell Dettor purchased the land from the trolley company. Mr. Dettor had been active in the building and management of the Jefferson Theater on East Main Street and was ready for a business of his own. He chose a site in a grassy hollow under shade trees to build a concrete swimming pool almost 100 meters in length. He also built a dam on Moore’s Creek about a quarter of a mile away. Two pump houses, one on the bank next to the dam and the other near the top of the line, were also built at this time. Pool water was pumped from the creek though rubber and canvas fire-hoses. Today the ruins of that dam and pump house can be seen from the Rivanna Trail Foundation’s trail at the foot of McElroy Drive in the City.

 


1921 – The Club is Born

 


Post-World War II Era

 


1950s to 1970s – Fry’s Spring as Outpost of Segregation; Dettor Sells Club to Member Families

1970s-1990s – A Club in Transition

 


1990 to 2020– A Member-Owned Club

 


2021 to Present – The Next Century

 







Fry’s Spring Beach Club: 2512 Jefferson Park Avenue, Charlottesville, VA 22903  |  Contact Us

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