History of Catherine Lane
The following article is reprinted from
“The Official Journal of the American Sunbathing Association” Circa 1959
Organized over eight years ago to provide sunbathing facilities for nudist-minded people in the St. Louis area, the Forty Acre Club has enjoyed a slow, but continuous growth. The phrase, I’m from Missouri; “you have to show me” especially applies to prospective nudist in that famous state.
Despite, however, the native Missourians’ reserve about jumping into something new and different, once they accept nudism it becomes not just a weekend activity with them, but a whole new concept of living. Nearly all of the original members of the Forty Acre Club who still reside in the St. Louis area are currently members in good standing of this organization.
Being a cooperative club, Forty Acres has had a variety of elected officers and park officials, but the mainspring of the group during its entire existence have been Ray and Cathryn Finney. Moving to the park six years ago, this dedicated couple have resided permanently there on a year round basis since then as managers and caretakers.
During the recent struggle to preserve nudism in the state of Missouri, it was Cathryn Finney who went to the front in the behalf of nudism. When the anti-nudist bill was introduced in the state legislature, membership in the Forty Acre Club dropped from a high of 102 to a low of 42 memberships. Undaunted, Catheryn Finney decided to fight to preserve nudism in Missouri, even if she had to fight the battle alone.
Lacking even the support of her own club, she began a relentless lobbying campaign against the bill, carrying her one-woman warfare directly to the state capital. Appealing to the ASA, she received the backing and support of that organization in her battle to preserve nudism. She demanded, and was given, a public hearing before the state legislators, and after hearing the nudists’ side of the story, the Missouri Senate killed the bill. For her efforts, Cathryn was awarded the title of Nudist Women of the Year. Cathryn was also recognized in the AANR Midwest Hall of Fame in 2007.. – at present there are 78 members.
Located near Lonedell, Missouri, just a few miles south of U.S. No. 66 and only 35 miles from St. Louis, Forty Acres is ideally situated. The park grounds are located in the foothills of the Ozarks and are accessible the year round via improved highways. Road signs bearing the legend “Forty Acre Club” member, one must ring a buzzer and wait until the caretaker comes to open the gate.
Passing through the gate, one enters a winding, gravel road that leads for perhaps a quarter of a mile through dense woods to the park area proper. A neat forty by sixty foot clubhouse, white trimmed in green, is located in the center of a large clearing. A few yards to the left of the clubhouse is Forty Acres’ newest structure – a neat masonry and redwood snack bar. Completed at the start of the 1959 season, the snack bar is open from seven in the morning until midnight, and is equipped to feed the entire membership if necessary.
Dotting the woods are numerous cabins and tents, a few trailers and a most unusual structure, which is the work of Orean, president of the club. This structure, which started out as a simple cabana with a canvas top, has been constantly revised and added to until it has become almost a community in itself.
A winding path leads from the central area, down a hillside to the picturesque little lake in the valley at the west edge of the park. Spring feed, it is the cleanest of natural swimming pools. A sunning area with dozens of gaily-painted Adirondack chairs fronts the entire east side of the lake. The natives of Missouri are noted for their hospitality, and the members of the Forty Acre Club are no exception to this rule.
Cathryn Finney was elected the recording secretary of the MSA at its formation meeting on February 27, 1954.