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History Time Line

1900

In the early 1900s, the population was growing in the Gadsden area, with the economy improving and new businesses opening. Several of the community’s leading citizens recognized the need to find a location where people could gather for social activities and escape the stress of the workweek.

1913

On October 30, 1913, a group of businessmen met to discuss forming a country Club on the grounds adjacent to Noccalula Falls. They envisioned the Clubhouse overlooking the waterfall and arrangements were made to acquire more land for an 18-hole golf course. The committee intended to ask men of social and business prominence to join the Club. In 1913 the Gadsden Country Club was formally organized, however, the effort never materialized and the vision of building the Club at the Noccalula site was abandoned.

1919

On Saturday, July 18, 1919, a group of one hundred of the city’s leading businessmen attended a meeting at the Printup Hotel in downtown Gadsden to organize a country club. The purpose for establishing a club was to contribute to the social and intellectual advancement of its members. Otto Agricola announced that he had purchased the 880-acre Elliot Farm, for what he thought would be a desirable location for the Club. The land was once part of the Elliot Peach Orchard, and experts confirmed that it was a suitable location for a Club.

They then created the Board of Governors and officially submitted paperwork to the Etowah County Probate Office in August of 1919. From there, the board approved the plans for the Clubhouse. In early 1921, the nine-hole golf course and tennis courts opened for play. On April 28, 1921, the formal opening of the Clubhouse occurred. They held a grand opening event with an elegant reception that was held in the Ballroom. From there, the board voted to hold quarterly dances that were free of charge for the members.

1929

At the annual stockholders meeting in 1929, Carl Lay was elected president. Many improvements were made during Lay’s presidency in 1929. Clean city water was piped into the Clubhouse, a modern septic tank was installed, low and swampy areas around the pool were drained, lifeguards and a pool manager were hired, the furnishings and interior of the Clubhouse was updated, and the regular membership increased by thirty-two members. The 1920’s were a period of growth and prosperity for the Gadsden Country Club. The membership had grown significantly and the facilities had many improvements.

1930

As the effects of the Great Depression began to emerge in the 1930’s, the board voted to investigate the feasibility of securing land adjoining the Club property to expand the golf course to 18-holes. The greens committee authorized a golf expert to give advice as to how much land was needed to expand. The Tennis Chairman, Stan Pressly, requested board authorization for construction of two permanent tennis courts near the lake. He recommended that the courts be clay with electric floodlights and backstops. The board approved building two permanent concrete courts, the cost was not to exceed $500.00. The board later voted to construct double courts of clay along with metal posts and backstops.

1933

The Great Depression began taking a toll on the Club and several petitions were filed requesting a reduction in dues and caddie fees. The board passed a resolution to reduce the salaries of all employees to help reduce the operating costs. The motion was made to reduce the dues of resident members from $100.00 to $60.00 per year. In September of 1933, the board was informed that unless more members were secured, there would not be enough cash to run the Club until the end of the year. In November of 1933, the board was informed that so many stockholders had dropped out of the Club that current members no longer owned the majority of shares of stock. There were 36 member shareholders and 64 non-member shareholders. The board voted to offer the non-member shareholder’s free membership if they would surrender their shares to the Club.

1937

In 1937, Club President, Burgett Mooney, announced that the Prohibition Laws would soon be repealed and Etowah County would become a “wet” county. The golf pro was granted the privilege of selling beer at the Clubhouse. During Mooney’s presidency, several members purchased 16 acres of land adjoining club property and gifted the land to the Club.

1940

At the beginning of 1940, Club membership was at 174, with incoming president Hugh Agricola. Agricola said it would be desirable to secure more land for the future expansion of the golf course to 18-holes.

1941

In 1941, a resolution was passed granting a leave of absence and expedition from dues for members who had enlisted with the National Guard. In 1942, the board voted that any member with good standing who was inducted into the military would be exempt from dues during his term of service. The Office of Civilian Defense of Etowah County requested that the Club be made available for use as a hospital in case an emergency should arise to such an extent that Camp Sibert could not care for patients. The board approved the request, and many Army personnel for membership.

1947

In September of 1947, the planning committee submitted a proposal for Clubhouse improvements. The board employed architect D.O. Whildin of Birmingham, who estimated the cost at $50,000.00. The Club President, Cross, proposed a plan to raise the funds by offering associate members the right to become stockholders by paying $350.00 per share. The plan passed with the deadline to raise funds set for April 1, 1948. Cross reported at the May 1984 meeting that 154 shares of stock had been sold, raising $53,900.00. At the end of 1948, the Building Committee Chairman announced that the Club remodeling project was near completion. In 1963, the board considered air conditioning in the ballroom and dining room. It was also suggested to tear down the Clubhouse and build a new one. In January of 1965, the stockholders passed a resolution to build a new Clubhouse with the completion date being March 1966. In June 1966, Club members and guests were invited to an open house reception. Many were lavish in their praise of the new facility which replaced the 46-year-old English Tudor structure.

1967

In 1967, a motion was made, and passed by the board, that required all male members to wear a coat and tie while dining at the Club. Another motion was passed that all food eaten at the Club must be prepared and served by Club personnel. In 1971, the Club reached major accomplishments with a new tennis building, new fencing around the pool, new playground equipment, painting inside and outside of the Clubhouse, installation of cablevision, employment of a full time tennis professional, and a net gain of two new members. In 1972, Etowah County voted to go “wet”, thus permitting the legal sale of alcohol at the Club. The board voted to ban “brown-bagging” of alcoholic beverages except in the men’s locker room and to require that only beer purchased from the Club can be consumed on Club property.

1980

In 1980, plans for a patio outside the bar and ballroom were presented and approved as well as renovations in the ballroom. A motion was made to establish a permanent long-range planning committee (LRPC) consisting of seven members to work independently to make recommendations to the board. The LRPC came up with several projects they considered to be priorities, including the construction of four new tennis courts, which was approved. By 1984, the Club had 618 active members.

1992

Much of 1992 through 1994 was consumed with planning, getting stockholder approval and renovating the Clubhouse, as it was clear the old building was outdated and inadequate for our membership of 650. In 1994, the stockholders approved the renovations of the Clubhouse which started in February of 1994. The ground floor area was expanded and converted into the men’s and women’s golf and locker room facilities. The new additions to the lower level were the mixed grill, the men’s grill and card room, the men’s locker room with 185 lockers, showers, sauna, and exercise room. The ladies locker room, showers, and exercise room were also added. Once the lower level work was completed, the began work on the upper level. They expanded the kitchen, added a new casual dining room, three additional private dining rooms, expanded the bar and lounge area. They created a new Club entrance, painted the outside of the building, and added new furniture and artwork to the Clubhouse. The project was completed on time and on budget with a formal open house being held in December of 1994. In 1995, Ray Renfrow suggested that the golf committee develop a master plan for the golf course. As a result, Bill Bergin from Alpharetta, Georgia was selected to design and lead the renovation of the golf course.

2008

The new millennium started uneventfully with a more relaxed dress code for the men, a food minimum, and the Wine Club being formed. In 2008, the board voted to prohibit smoking throughout the Clubhouse, including the cardroom. The board also voted to allow non-members use of the Club facilities. In March of 2009, the board added a new membership category- Corporate Membership. At the February 2017 stockholder’s meeting, Alie Renfrow Causey was elected as the first ever woman president of the Gadsden Country Club.

In the first one hundred years, the Club experienced its challenges in good times, war years, the Great Depression but always had a dedicated core of individuals committed to moving the Club forward in keeping with the original mission of its founders as expressed in 1919 “for the social and intellectual advancement of its members”. It is expected that over the next one hundred years the Club will continue building on the great traditions of the past.