History of Forty Acre Club
In 1953 very little development of the grounds had begun. People slept in tents, a lean-two or outside next to a bon-fire. All we had as a tiny clubhouse with an outhouse that featured a two hole john.
Back then people had different attitudes and were mostly in the closet and private. Even though there were big crowds on the grounds it was rare to divulge your lifestyle.
The membership fees for the very first annual members in 1953 were a whopping $39.00 which included ASA & MSA dues.
The Forty Acre Club was officially chartered by the State of Missouri on March 10, 1954. It is Missouri’s first and oldest nudist resort continuously occupying the same grounds. At the same time the Forty Acre Club was being organized, the Midwest Sunbathing Association came into existence to serve the clubs as a regional organization affiliated with the great American Sunbathing Association. In conformity with the results of a mail ballot recently conducted among clubs in the Midwest Sunbathing Association, Earl Barrett, Chairman of the Executive Committee, called a meeting of club leaders, which was held at the 40-Acre Club, February 27 and 28.
Saturday evening sessions were entirely informal discussions at which it was decided exactly what this meeting had been called for, what would be taken up at our formal meeting and how it was to be handled. It had to be done in this manner for our time was so limited, nearly all having driven great distances to get there and all having to be back home by Monday morning.
All realized the gravity of the steps we were taking and the necessity of completing the business at hand in the short time we had to do it in. The formal meeting was opened Sunday morning by Earl Barrett and the first order of business was the roll call of clubs showing ten groups represented.
The second order of business was the reading of the Constitution and approval article by article, then the acceptance of the entire constitution. The same procedure was followed for the by-laws. The draft of the Constitution and By-laws had been prepared by “Grits” as chairman of the C & BL Committee, assisted by Herb Lindle.
Elected to serve till the close of our first annual convention were: Earl Barrett, president; Maria Park, vice president; Margaret Denman, secretary-treasurer; Catherine Finney, Recording secretary; Carl Head, chaplain. Elected to the Board of Directors were Herb Lindle, George Falgier, Jim Placker, Hannah Barrett, Wm. Moran, Jim Arnold.
The following resolution was read by George Falgier and received unanimous approval;
“In the very beginning days of nudism in America, the American Sunbathing Association was organized. It succeeded all the earlier pioneer attempts to merge the sunbathing movements on this continent into one authoritative and official national and parliamentary body. It soon achieved such popularity and prestige that to informed people, nudism and the American Sunbathing Association were one and the same thing, and it holds that supreme and outstanding position of almost monopolistic importance everywhere in the nudist cause to this day. At least 97 per cent of all organized nudist between the American oceans are members of or are affiliated with the great American Sunbathing Association, and any nudists who are not connected with the ASA are so few in numbers that they wield insignificant influence.
“We the members of the Midwest Sunbathing Association, a regional operating under and by authority of the great American Sunbathing Association, and gathered in organizational meeting at the 40-Acre Club near St. Louis, Mo., this 28th day of February, A.D., 1954, reaffirm our basic beliefs in the virtues of nudism. We pledge our loyalty to and appreciation of our parent organization, the great American Sunbathing Association, of our regional organization, the Midwest Sunbathing Association, and of our local clubs, who make it possible for us to enjoy and to be members of and be affiliated with our regional and national bodies.
“We gather together to dedicate ourselves to the unfinished tasks before us as individual nudists, as local clubs, and as regional and national groups. In the world adjacent lie great opportunities and challenges. Every club in our fraternity can use more members, more camp equipment and facilities, more money, more workers to help enlist our friendly neighbors round about, to the end that they become believers in our philosophy and members of our club.”