In the beginning there was land, an expanse of trees and earth, which would be transformed into the Lima golf course we know today. In the early 1900s, it was surrounded by farmland and the dream of a few early residents was to develop a golf course unparalleled in the area. Thus, the dream began to evolve. The reality was firmly established. It thrives today as an integral part of the lives of the members of Shawnee Country Club.
An enthusiastic group of businessmen, with the familiar names of 1900 Allen County decided there was a need for a Club with a primary purpose-Golf. With more time for leisure activities as the area became industrialized, the idea of a club with a golf course and other athletic venues was a natural indication that we were moving into a progressive era.
Shawnee Country Club required three years for planning and the implementing of details. In 1904, the founding members proudly began more than one hundred years of Golf and soon added tennis. Swimming was finally included in 1950. The camaraderie of family and friend served the club and the community well.
Because of a 1917 fire, the records of plans and costs are unavailable. However, the spirits remains in the stories handed down to the current fourth and fifth generations. The original buildings, the layout of the course and the accoutrements have changed in the past one hundred years but the sense of purpose has not. Shawnee Country Club from 1904 to 2010 stands proudly for its heritage and the preservation of that ancestral dream.
Whether hearsay or fact, the legends surrounding the development of the Golf course remain fascinating. Some of the process was controlled by finances some by changes in the games and many by the whims of those who happened to be in charge at the time.
The location was chosen because of its rolling terrain in an otherwise flat area, its proximity to Lima and its accessibility to the Western Ohio Electric Railway. All of these details were significant because the automobile had not yet become a part of daily living. The combination of abundant water and trees added to the importance of this particular piece of land. It was beautiful and practical.
The name was chosen for the township in which it was located and its nearness
to Shawnee Indian Council House.
Much to the chagrin of future grounds architects, the layout of the course favored those who used iron clubs. The fairways were narrow. The greens were flat, hard, and small and the tees were invariably placed near the boundaries. Actually, the only difference between the greens and the fairways was that the greens were watered. Few of the greens were trapped; they penalized “pitch shots” and were designed to feature run-up shots. The tees were usually ten feet square and topped with clay, which made them slippery and muddy. Each tee had a bucket of sand to allow the golfer to create his own mound.
The rough was rough! More time was spent looking for lost balls than it takes to play nine holes today. Most were found within fifteen feet of the fairway.
First came the desire to play golf. Next came the need for a facility to house the golfers. The left wing of the Clubhouse was completed in 1904. A separate small building served as the men’s locker room. It served the members well into 1911 when the right wing was added. The addition was built on the site of the previous locker room. The main floor became the ballroom with lockers on the floor below. It opened on June 17, 1911. Weekly dances were held for the rest of the summer.
According to the minutes of several meetings, the absence of ice was a perpetual problem in those early days before refrigeration. Finally, an icehouse with regularly scheduled deliveries of ice solved the problem.
The third addition to the old Clubhouse opened in the summer of 1917. In September, the board approved the purchase of all new linens and furnishings in preparation for the $1 per plate dinner/dance to celebrate the completion of the building program. According to Wallace King, chairman of the event, “That was the swellest dinner dance ever held up to this time. “
One month later, October 23, 1917, t he entire facility burned to the Club.
Many disheartening stories were related to the fire. Most of the members left their golf clubs on site, so most were lost. All of the shafts were made of wood in those days. Most had been imported from Scotland and their owners rushed to the scene to retrieve their clubs. Some actually successful, but most lost their treasured golf clubs in the fire.
The new clubhouse was opened on August 18, 1918. Next, the Caddy House was added and a shelter for the Interurban was completed in 1923. Under the presidency of TD McLaughlin, the Grill Room was built and became the hub of the Shawnee Country Club experience.
In the midst of World War II, Shawnee Golf Club evolved into Shawnee Country Club. Those who joined for its social qualities rather than golf were finally treated to a place of their own. Seldom had Shawnee seen the gala activities that marked the July Fourth Grand Opening of the Grill Room. McLaughlin had this say about the Grill Room addition. “The Grill Room would have never been a reality, at least that time, except for the faith and assistance of one man, Tom (TR) Schoonover. I had called a meeting of the trustees and members who had years of interest in the welfare of Shawnee. Things did not look rosy for the new room. The Depression was scarcely out of the way and the war clouds of Europe hung heavily over our country. Enthusiasm was lagging.
Then, I called on Tom Schoonover. His talk, in fact it was practically an oration, changed the whole tenor of the meeting. In concluding his remarks, he assured the trustees that if it was finances that were holding this project he would see about the underwriting of the entire commitment. THAT was THAT and the Grill Room was in.”
Because of its timing and the energy involved in its development, the celebration on July 4, 1942, brought a new era, and increased membership to the ever-improving Shawnee Country Club.
47 years was the average life expectancy
14% of the homes in the nation had a bathtub
8% of the homes in the nation had a telephone
$11 was the price of a three minute phone call from New York City to Denver
There were 8,000 cars and 144 miles of paved roads in the United States
The speed limit was 10mph
California was 21st in population
The Eiffel Tower was the tallest structure in the world.
The average was 22 cents an hour
The average yearly income was between $200 and $400 per year
An accountant earned $2,000 per year, a dentist $2,500 and a mechanical engineer $5,000
95% of the births were at home
90% of doctors had no college education
Sugar cost 4 cents a pound, eggs were 14 cents a dozen and coffee was 15 cents a pound
Most women washed their hair once a month with borax or egg yolks for shampoo
The leading causes of death were pneumonia, tuberculosis, diarrhea, heart disease, and stroke.
The American flag had 45 stars. The next five were for Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska, and Hawaii.
The population of Las Vegas was 30
Crossword puzzles, canned beer and iced tea had not been invented.
No Mother’s Day or Father’s Day
1 in 10 people could not read or write
6% of people graduated from High School
Coca-Cola contained cocaine. Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were sold at the drugstore. One drugstore ad said “Heroin clears the complexion”
18% of households had a servant
There were only 230 reported murders
Shawnee Country Club is a Private Club. Use of the Club’s Amenities including the Pool & Golf Course are a privilege reserved for Members Only.