A History of Franklin County Country Club

Realizing the need for a place of recreation for their employees, and the community in general, the coal companies of Old Ben, Taylor Coal Company, CWF Coal Company, and Bell & Zoller Coal Company bound together to develop a golf course in Franklin County.

D.W Buchannan, president of Old Ben coal, offered a lease on over 100 acres of land adjacent to the Old Ben #15 mine. Buchannan at his own expense paid $5,000 to a leading golf architect to ascertain the feasibility of the proposed golf links.

The sight selected turned out to be on the site of the last recorded battle between the Kaskaskia & Shawnee Indians. The Kaskaskia were lead into battle in 1802 by Chief John Duquoin, and the Shawnee were lead by Chief Tecumseh. The Shawnee were victorious & gained control of the hunting ground south and adjacent to the Big Muddy River. Numerous Indian artifacts were found on the grounds and have been displayed in the old clubhouse at one time.

The first organizational meeting of the proposed golf course was held October 4, 1921. Charles D. Jacobs was elected President, Fred E. Homan Vice Pres. and George F. Campbell Secretary. The Franklin County Country Club was started with a limit of 150 members. Originally there were 62 resident members and 16 non-resident members. Longford and Moreau, Golf Architects of Chicago were selected to design and supervise the construction of the course at a cost of $100,000.

Work on the course began in early 1922. A temporary course with sand greens and clubhouse was ready in May 1922. The sand course was constructed about were #1 green is now located. During this time, Fred Mitchell served as greens Superintendent. He was succeeded by Vertus Mitchell who served until 1948. Jerry Gass replaced Jim Mitchell and served until 1933. James Groves was named as the new greens Superintendent in August 1933.

The first golf professional to serve the club was George Robrer. He moved to Wisconsin in 1926 leaving his caddy master, Carl Carello as the club professional. Carello reigned over the club until retiring in 1968, leaving his nephew Gene Carello at the helm.

There have been some major improvements to the club over the last twenty years. An additional nine holes was constructed and dedicated in 1974, making it an excellent 18-hole course. In December 1975, the original clubhouse was destroyed by fire and a new clubhouse was constructed n the original site. It was dedicated in 1977. With the installation of a watering system on all fairways, new grasses were introduced, making the fairways the finest in the area!

In 1982, a driving range was added and a Pro Shop was constructed between the 18-hole course. In 1984 the pro Shop was destroyed by fire and decision was made to enlarge the clubhouse bar area and locate the Pro Shop under the clubhouse. The remodeling was completed in 1985. In 1993 the original nine holes were rebuilt and brought back to their original 1922 design.

Franklin County Country Club now boasts one of the best 18-hole golf courses in the entire area. Fine foods are served daily in the clubhouse restaurant, banquet facilities are available, swimming pool for kids and nice patio for parties & gatherings!

 

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