Club members conducted extensive historical research to provide material for its application to the National Park Service, which maintains the registry. The land where the club sits was once the site of the Firlock Station along the Oregon Electric Railroad. An 18-hole golf course was constructed on the property in 1915 and the existing clubhouse was built in 1928. “Achieving this respected designation from the National Park Service is an important part of the club’s history and one that will be part of our future legacy,” says Lonnie Lister, General Manager/COO, Portland Golf Club.
The Portland (Ore.) Golf Club Clubhouse and Golf Course have been added to the National Register of Historic Places as maintained by the National Park Service. The exclusive designation is typically reserved for some of the country’s most prestigious clubs and courses, many located on the East Coast.
The National Park Service’s approval was especially gratifying to Portland Golf Club members since preparation of the application required extensive historical research dating back to the property’s beginnings in 1913 when construction on the golf course commenced.
“This was a team effort,” said Lonnie Lister, General Manager/COO, Portland Golf Club. “Achieving this respected designation from the National Park Service is an important part of the club’s history and one that will be part of our future legacy.”
With the honor, Lister said Portland Golf Club now joins clubs and courses such as Baltusrol Golf Club (N.J), Oakmont Country Club (Pa.), Merion Golf Club (Pa.), Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (N.Y.), and Winged Foot Golf Club (N.Y.).
Portland Golf Club is situated on 115 acres, six miles southwest of downtown Portland in the Raleigh Hills neighborhood. It was transformed from the Firlock Station along the Oregon Electric Railroad into an 18-hole golf course in 1915. The existing clubhouse was constructed in 1928 and retains much of the historical integrity of the original building.
According to the cub’s application, the building “remains in its original use as a clubhouse associated with a functioning golf course, its setting remains largely unchanged.”
“Although the course itself has been lightly altered to better suit modern needs, the building remains adjacent to the greens and fairways at the south and east,” the application reads. “Outside the course grounds, the setting remains largely residential to the west. As such, the Portland Golf Club Clubhouse and Golf Course retains integrity of setting.”
Between 1915 and 1965, the golf course was the premiere layout in the Portland Metropolitan Area, having hosted more high-profile amateur and professional events than any other course in the state. In 1946, the club hosted the PGA Championship, and hosted the 1947 Ryder Cup, the first to be held in the U.S since the outset of World War II.
Most recently, the club hosted the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship. Even the clubhouse itself has played a major role in the history of golf. In 1946, following the completion of the 1946 PGA Championship, the Golf Writers Association of America was organized there.
Some of golf’s most legendary names have played at Portland Golf Club, including Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Cary Middlecoff, Billy Casper, Jack Nicklaus, Kathy Whitworth, Donna Caponi Young, and Nancy Lopez.
Moreover, Portland GC was an early advocate of women’s golf, admitting females very early in its history. One member, Alice Benson Allen, a Portland philanthropist, and founder of the Oregon Women’s Golf Association, successfully pressed for and helped finance a women’s locker room. Her efforts, at a time when the inclusion of women’s facilities was an afterthought at many clubhouses being built, led to a substantial women’s locker room included as part of the present clubhouse.
As part of the historical designation, the club will receive a commemorative plaque from the National Park Service. Johnson said a ceremony will be held when it is installed.
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