September 12, 1996
Here's the rest of Mrs. Irene Treeman's story about the origin of the Perry Country Club, from a paper she wrote for a local women's club in 1980:
The dam for Wills Lake, the site of the original Country Club on the east side of Perry, was on the west side of the lake, and between the dam and the entrance gate was a large space where two long hitching racks were located; Mrs. Treeman wrote. In 1905 there were almost no automobiles in Perry, but everybody had some kind of horse and buggy. By 1920, almost everybody had some kind of car.
One of the buildings at Wills Lake/Country Club was the keeper's cottage, a one-room building west of the pavilion. Mrs. Treeman remembered the keeper as an elderly man who lived there and was always around. "I can't remember any vandalism or bad behavior at the old Country Club," she wrote.
"In 1920 Mr. Wills would not renew the lease on his property so the club's board of directors made some arrangement with him about leaving the buildings. He opened a public recreation place there for a while," Mrs. Treeman noted. "The directors began looking for a new location for the Country Club and soon began buying property on the hill north of town where the present day Country Club functions. There had been no golf course at the old Country Club, but plans for a new club included golf. Securing as much land as they needed took quite a bit of time, but in 1925 the board of directors drew up articles of incorporation and rules and regulations for the conduct of the club. The directors were Harry DeLashmutt, Sherman Krisher, Bert Byerley, O. R. Hall, H. C. Jackson, Ralph Treeman, J. A. Boller, Marsh Woodruff and P. W. Cress."
"The clubhouse was built, the lake began to fill up with water, and the golf course was on its way. I know more about the lake than anything else because by husband, Ralph, and Marsh Woodruff were the lake committee. Many evenings we spent out there where an army of men with horses and scoops were digging out what was to be the bottom of the lake. Later, the dam was built. My son, Bill, told me recently that during the first heavy rain, after the dam was built, weak spots showed up and he stayed with his father until 2 o'clock in the morning hauling sacks of cement which they threw into the weak places. For years, he said, you could see those hardened cement sacks in the dam."
"Sand for a beach was hauled in and spread near the north end of the lake for the children's benefit. Mr. VanNoy, the school physical education director, taught swimming out there for, one or two summers. The 'pitch-in' dinners from the old Country Club were never resumed at the new location, and it was not until 1954 or 1955 that the women's auxiliary was organized. Recent notices in the local paper concerning families having dinner-club nights with games afterward remind me of the early-day club."
"I feel that the early-day club and today's club have been a very real community asset, and now that Barbara St. Clair has been elected president (the first female president that this club, old or new, has ever had) proves that the Perry Golf & Country Club of 1980 is really keeping up with the times. Congratulations and many thanks to all of those who have produced an added dimension to Perry -- the town I love."
Thus ended the report Mrs. Treeman prepared for presentation to the Perry Study Club in 1980. Her personal comments about the value of the Country Club in this city are just as apropos today as they were 16 years ago, and with the impending construction of a new clubhouse it's obvious the club is still keeping up with the times.
We're fortunate to have this facility in our community. And, we were fortunate to have had such remarkable historians as Irene Treeman to record some of the interesting facts about the growth and development of Perry. This particular account has enabled us to step back in time and to sample some of the delights of a pleasant, leisurely paced lifestyle which characterized the early days here.