Lehigh Country Club
|Lehigh Country Club|
2319 South Cedar Crest Blvd.
Allentown, PA 18103
Architect: William S. Flynn
view larger map
At about the same time that Old York Road was launched, a club some 30 miles due north also came into existence. Lehigh Country Club filed its articles of incorporation in the latter part of 1910. Edward A. Soleliac was elected president. Other officers were George E. Holton, vice president; S. G. K. Stradley, secretary; and William W. Schantz, treasurer.
A 60-acre parcel of land known as the Dodson Farm, near Rittersville, was acquired, and construction of a nine-hole course and a clubhouse got underway early in 1911. And if the course itself was, like so many "starter" courses, rudimentary, the same could scarcely be said of the clubhouse. On the occasion of the grand opening, April 18, 1912, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported: "... One hundred and twenty-four feet long and splendidly equipped, the clubhouse, which is of Italian villa architecture, is handsome and commodious and luxuriously furnished. The three dining rooms can be thrown into one banquet hall capable of seating 250 people."
The original clubhouse of Lehigh Country Club — in the style of an Italian villa -- opened on April 18,1912
By this time, the club already had 350 resident members. Five years later, that number had climbed to 456, to say nothing of Junior and non-resident members. But by 1925, membership had declined to 349. The decrease was due principally to the fact that Northampton Country Club now had an 18-hole course, and so did the new club at Bethlehem, Saucon Valley Country Club. A nine-hole course was not going to be acceptable to Lehigh Country Club much longer.
Before the year was out, the club had acquired a new site. Located near Wieda’s Mill, it consisted of two properties, the Kemmerer and Kline farms, totaling 205 acres. Running through this pretty rolling countryside was the Little Lehigh River. Purchase price was $55,000.
On May 17, 1926, the board approved a contract with Toomey and Flynn (William Flynn had recently designed Cherry Hills, outside Denver, Colo., and the Cascades Course at the Homestead, Hot Springs, Va.) to design and build a course at a cost of $109,210. Within seven months, Toomey and Flynn completed their contract. However, all of 1927 and the first months of 1928 would be required to develop the course into playing condition, chiefly because heavy rains were to create a number of washouts—broad and deep gullies—to say nothing of the sinkhole that occurred when about a third of the 10th green dropped some six or seven feet. But on Memorial Day 1928, with the club’s president, C. R. Harned, driving the first ball, the 18 opened for play.