West Chester Golf & Country Club
|West Chester Golf & Country Club|
111 West Ashbridge Street
West Chester, PA 19380
Architect: Karl Litten
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Like Springhaven, West Chester owed its formation at least in part to the efforts of a young woman. Miss Margaret Walter hosted the organizational meeting in her home in late September, 1898, and the gathering— some 35 people—was quick to name her secretary of the new club. The other officers were Carroll Brinton Jacobs, president; Dr. Charles R. Palmer, vice president; and Percy S. Darlington, treasurer. At a meeting shortly thereafter, a board of governors was named. It included the four officers plus the following five members: Josephine Roberts, William Chalfant, Benjamin W. Haines, Francis Jacobs, and Thomas W. Marshall.
The Golf and Country Club looked back to two predecessor organizations, the West Chester Cricket Club and its successor, the West Chester Country Club. During the summer prior to that first meeting at Miss Walter’s home, the Country Club did offer its members the opportunity to hit golf balls on a makeshift "links" north of Virginia Avenue. But the truth is that the Cricket Club and the Country Club were best known for their excellent baseball teams, which seemed regularly to take the measure of teams from Media and Downingtown and Coatesville.
West Chester’s 1908 clubhouse, which was destroyed by fire in 1911.
Golf began in earnest at the new club’s site, the Roselyn acreage south of Rosedale and west of Wilmington Pike, which the club leased for five years from Martin Darlington. Money was spent to remove rocks; to lay pipe and buy hose for watering the greens; to purchase a horse, a roller, and a lawn mower; and to hire a man to maintain the nine holes for "not more than" $20 per month. Routed over basically hilly country, much of which had been plowed ground, the course also enjoyed stretches of gently rolling terrain. It measured 2,769 yards against a par of 35 1/2.
In late May of 1906, the club voted to lease the Lowndes Taylor property for 20 years (average rental on this 55-acre tract, $431.25 per year) and build there a course and clubhouse. One reason given for moving to the new (present) site was unsuccessful lease negotiations with the landlord. That may have been a factor, but perhaps it was not the decisive one. For the new site was on the north side of town, where, conveniently, the majority of members lived. There would no longer be any need to hitch up the horses. Now the members could simply walk over to the club and tee off. The new course and clubhouse were soon built. So were two tennis courts. The total cost of all facilities, including the nine-hole golf course, came to something over $13,000. The course formally opened for play on April 1,1908.