The Suffolk Club House, circa 1906 

Aerial view of the park as hunting and fishing preserve 

The Suffolk Club was originally formed by Daniel Webster, Martin Van Buren and others about 1827 on land first leased, then purchased from the Carman family. Club membership was limited to 15. Each member had private rooms in the club house, which were individually furnished to the member’s taste. The “cellar” was said to be very fine, and the kitchen was said to have been superb. Women were not allowed in the club house, although some members built residences nearby for the convenience of their families, who were said to have use of the grounds. 

In the early 1920’s, Anson W. Hard (in photo above) bought the outstanding shares of the Suffolk Club from the remaining members as a personal hunting lodge for himself and close friends. The estate was known as “Fire Place.” The old club house was razed, and a modern residence built using timbers of the lodge before it. Anson died in 1935, and his wife Florence and the six children inherited the lodge and estate. In 1936, the Anson Hard residence was destroyed by fire. 

In 1937 this building was erected, and became the principal family residence. 

After WW II, when son Kenneth Hard returned from the war, the family turned the estate over to him. Under Kenneth’s tutelage, it became a public sportsman’s club known as the Suffolk Lodge Game Preserve, having deer, duck and pheasant on the property, some of which were raised on the property itself. 

The land was eventually sold to Suffolk County for $2,500,000 and became the county’s first public park, now known as Southaven County Park. The house itself stayed a private residence for a while and an attempt was made to make it a bed and breakfast; but it too eventually was sold to the county where it became the County’s Park Police headquarters