History of Northmoor Country Club
Northmoor: The First 10 Years And Beyond
In August, 1918, while playing golf at Evanston Golf Club, Nathan Klee - a resident of Highland Park - learned that the Evanston Club was going to close its nine-hole course at the end of the year. Klee immediately met with a small group of friends who also were ardent golfers and proposed that they obtain an option to lease the nine-hole course and its clubhouse in order to determine if the group could form a country club. A 60-day option was obtained for a period of two years, and on November 22, 1918 - shortly after the end of World War I - Northmoor Country Club was born.
At the first meeting of the board of directors it was determined to limit the membership to 100. But when the club opened in the spring of 1919, the membership stood at 126. During the summer of 1919 the members commenced playing on the nine-hole course, and by September of 1919 the membership stood at 155 with a long waiting list of applicants. The Northmoor News reported that, "The social affairs during the first season resembled large family parties, and the 'get together' spirit shown by the members on these occasions was primarily responsible for the popularity and the early success of Northmoor." There were dinner dances and "special affairs," according to the club minutes, that included Decoration Day, July Fourth and Labor Day parties, as well as the "Harvest Home Dinner" in late fall.
During the first year it became apparent to the board of directors that the Evanston facility would not meet the current and future needs of Northmoor members. A committee was formed to locate property to build a golf course somewhere between Evanston and Fort Sheridan. On September 5, 1919 the board was authorized to purchase or lease property which was located in Ravinia, Illinois, near Green Bay Road at its intersection with a dirt road known as Edgewood.
The acquisition of this property involved three separate tracts with a total area of 164 acres. The Koller tract, which consisted of 60 acres, was purchased for $633 per acre, or a total of $38,000, $20,000 in cash and $18,000 payable over a five-year period. The McGuire and Orr tracts, consisting of 24 acres were purchased for $1,750 per acre, or a total of $42,000, $21,000 in cash and the balance payable over five years. The sellers agreed to split the cost of construction of roads, sewers, drains and water pipes. The Stipe tract consisting of 79 acres was leased from Sebastian Stipe for five years at a rental of $3,923 per year. The club had an option to purchase the entire Stipe tract for $119,000, financed over a period of 10 years.
Donald Ross had been hired as the golf course architect and reported to the board that in his opinion, "This property could be made into one of the finest golf courses in the country."
Work on the new course began in the early winter of 1920. It was necessary to cut down more than 1,000 trees in order to clear the fairways on the first and second holes (the first and ninth hole of the current red nine). According to the minutes, "The natural contour of the course required much drainage. In all more than six miles of drain tile was laid."
On July 2, 1921 the eleven holes north of Clavey Road were opened for play. Because of a long dry spell in June and July, opening of the seven holes south of Clavey Road was delayed until October. The club held a professional exhibition of the entire eighteen holes on October 9, 1921. A foursome consisting of the golf pros from Ravisloe, Bob-O-Link, Skokie and Northmoor participated and were watched by a large gallery of Northmoor members.
In 1920 Alfred S. Alschuler, an architect and Northmoor member, was retained to design a new clubhouse. The membership greeted Mr. Alschuler's plan with enthusiasm. However at a meeting of the membership on October 25, 1920 at the Standard Club, it was determined that it was not a good time to build because building costs were so high. The construction of the clubhouse was deferred, and temporary and inexpensive buildings were authorized to provide for limited accommodations.
It was not until June 18, 1929 that the members - at a special meeting - authorized the board of directors to proceed with the replacement of the temporary buildings with a permanent building at a cost "not to exceed" $400,000. Mr. Alschuler was retained to draw plans for the new building.
In 1963 the City of Highland Park had plans to turn Clavey Road into a 4-lane highway. Accordingly, it was decided to build the red nine, which consisted of seven new holes on the north side of Clavey Road (holes 2 through 8); and by adding holes 1 and 2 of the original course to the new seven holes (holes 1 and 9), Northmoor would now have eighteen holes north of Clavey Road.
In 1967 it was proposed by many members that since there was an 18-hole golf course in existence north of Clavey Road, it was prudent to sell the property south of Clavey Road, which had increased substantially in value. The vote on the proposition was set for January 1967, but because of a history-making snow storm that occurred on the date of the meeting, the vote was postponed until a meeting in April of 1967. The opponents of the sale prevailed and the proposition to sell failed by five votes. Clavey Road was repaved but never widened and, accordingly, holes 4 and 5 were added to the existing holes on the south side of Clavey Road, which created our 27-hole golf course.
The above history was researched and written by Dan Brusslan, and was taken from minutes of the Board of Directors from 1919 through 1929. Other significant information was gathered from conversations with longtime members Jerome Stone, Herbert Decker, Jr., David Blumberg, John Deimel and Alfred Weissenbach.