Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

1902 Report on Activities of The First Pelham Country Club on Fowler Avenue

During a meeting held on May 12, 1898, Pelham residents organized what is known today as the "First Pelham Country Club."  The club is not related either to today's Pelham Country Club or to the club that once stood along Shore Road known simply as "the Country Club."  Rather, the First Pelham Country Club eventually became today's Wykagyl Country Club in the City of New Rochelle. 

Immediately after its organization, the First Pelham Country Club constructed six holes of golf.  Within a short time the club added three additional holes for a nine-hole golf course.  The club built the course on leased land along today's Fowler Avenue.  The course extended from Colonial Avenue to Boston Post Road.  The club used a residence that stood on the land near Colonial Avenue as a clubhouse.  By 1904, the club secured land to open a larger course in New Rochelle.  The club became today's Wykagyl Country Club.

A map published in 1899 shows the golf course.  A detail from that map showing the course appears below.  According to the map, the club named each of the nine holes of the course.  The clubhouse stood near the intersection of today's Fowler Avenue and Colonial Avenue.  The first hole was named "Old Boston Post Road" and ran parallel to Colonial Avenue.  The first tee was next to the clubhouse.  There were two bunkers in the first fairway with the green adjacent to Colonial Avenue not far from the border with New Rochelle.

The second hole was named "Sycamore."  Its tee was not far from the green of the first hole near Colonial Avenue.  The fairway of the second hole proceeded from Colonial Avenue toward Boston Post Road, extending about half the distance between the two roads.  It included two bunkers across the fairway.  The third hole, named "Orchard," ran parallel to Boston Post Road with its tee box near the border with New Rochelle and its green adjacent to Boston Post Road.  There were no bunkers along the fairway of the third hole, but there were terraces near the green.  

The fourth hole, named "Turnpike," had a tee box inland next to the last third of the fairway for the third hole.  The terraces across the third hole fairway extended sufficiently inland so that the "inland" end of the terraces crossed the fairway of the fourth hole as a hazard for that hole as well.  The green for the fourth hole was adjacent to the Boston Turnpike not far from today's intersection of that roadway with Fowler Avenue.

The fifth hole was named "Glen" because it ran through a gentle valley parallel to the location of today's Fowler Avenue toward a small lake that stood about halfway between Boston Post Road and Colonial Avenue.  There was a single bunker near the green that stood just shy of the lake.  The sixth hole was named "Lake."  Its tee box was adjacent to the green of the fifth hole its fairway ran roughly parallel to the location of today's Fowler Avenue, with the lake serving as a hazard along the fairway.  There also was a bunker immediately before the sixth green that stood near the clubhouse.  Thus, the first six holes roughly followed the perimeter of the rectangular property leased by the club.  The remaining three holes formed a rough triangle within that rectangle.

The seventh hole was named "Forest."  Its tee box was near the green of the sixth hole so that a portion of the bunker in front of the sixth green extended across the fairway just in front of the seventh hole.  The fairway extended diagonally across the interior of the property roughly toward Boston Post Road at the New Rochelle border.  

The eighth hole was named  "Oaktree."  Its fairway was roughly parallel to the fairway of the second hole, extending from its tee box near the fairway of the third hole and proceeding toward Colonial Avenue.  There were two bunkers in the eighth fairway.

The ninth and final hole was named "Home."  It ran very roughly parallel to the first hole.  Its tee box was near the eighth green.  The fairway extended toward the clubhouse with two bunkers crossing the fairway as hazards.

Published in 1899.  The Road on the Left is Boston
Post Road.  The Small Road on the Right is Colonial
Avenue.  Source:  Fairchild, John F., "Town of
Pelham Plate 22" in Atlas of the City of Mount Vernon
and the Town of Pelham, Plate 22 (Mount Vernon, NY:
John F. Fairchild, 1899).  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

In 1902 the local Mount Vernon newspaper published a report on planned improvements at the Pelham Country Club including plans to widen and lengthen the course to give "better turf and greater playing distance."

The same report indicated that negotiations were then underway to lease additional property to permit construction of a "base ball field" for the "Country Club nine" and to build a "squash-court building" with accommodations for indoor ping-pong and shuffleboard.  It does not appear that any additional property was leased, nor that any such "squash-court building" was built.  

The report further announced that beginning on Decoration Day (today's Memorial Day), the club would be serving dinner to its members and their guests "on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays."

Only two years after this report, the First Pelham Country Club was unable to renew its lease for the property and began its move to New Rochelle as the Wykagyl Country Club.

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Below is the text of the report published in The Daily Argus of Mount Vernon.  It is followed by a citation and link to its source.  


The management begs to announce that improvements in the links are now under way, as the result of which the course will be widened and lengthened, giving better turf and greater playing distance.

The links is in better condition today than it has ever been before at this time of year and we anticipate putting and fair greens of exceptional quality during the season.  

The schedule of handicap and scratch events is being made up and will include five-men matches with prominent local clubs.

Negotiations are pending for the lease of additional property, to be converted into a base ball field, which we hope may be the scene of many victories for the Country Club nine.

The erection of a 'squash-court' building, containing accommodations as well for 'ping-pong, shuffleboard and other indoor sports, is under consideration and will be built if sufficient interest is shown.

A club dinner will be served to members and their guests at the Club house on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, commencing Friday, May 30 (Decoration Day).

We hope to receive the cordial and hearty support of every member in our efforts to make the Club agreeable and attractive.

A new tennis court has been added to the outfit and a lot secured upon which a new club house will be erected in the fall.

E. M. Fowler, chairman house committee; A. K. Alexander, chairman greens committee."

Source:  PELHAM COUNTRY CLUB, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Apr. 5, 1902, p. 6, col. 2.  

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I have written before about the First Pelham Country Club that became the Wykagyl Country Club.  See, e.g.:

Mon., Jan. 11, 2010:  The First Pelham Country Club's Plans for a July 4, 1898 Opening of its New Nine-Hole Golf Course Accessible by a New Trolley Line

Thu., Nov. 26, 2009:  The First "Pelham Country Club" Established in 1898 Built a Nine-Hole Golf Course in Pelham in 1898.  

Bell, Blake, The Early Days of Golf in Pelham, The Pelham Weekly, Vol. XIII, No. 36, Sep. 10, 2004, p. 12, col. 2.

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