The club has purchased its historic 9-hole St. Martins Golf Course, site of the 1907 and 1910 U.S. Open tournaments, in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia for $600,000, after leasing it from a local family for nearly 150 years. The sale took the form of a preservation easement on the 41-acre property that is held by Natural Lands Trust, a regional conservation organization, with the intent of ensuring that the land remains open space.
A deal announced in November to preserve the historic 41-acre St. Martins Golf Course at The Philadelphia Cricket Club was finalized on December 17, reported the Chestnut Hill Local, a community publication for the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, where the club’s main clubhouse and the St. Martins course are located.
The deal took the form of a preservation easement on the entire property that is held by Natural Lands Trust, eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey’s oldest and largest conservation organization, the Chestnut Hill Local reported.
The course itself was purchased from the Woodward Family by the club for $600,000, the Chestnut Hill Local reported, after the club had leased the 9-hole course from the family for nearly 150 years.
The Woodward family said it would donate the entirety of the purchase price to the National Lands Trust, the Chestnut Hill Historical Society and the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the Chestnut Hill Local reported.
“We are pleased and honored to have finalized this agreement with [the] Natural Lands Trust and The Philadelphia Cricket Club,” said Charles Woodward, a great-great-grandson of Henry Houston and spokesman for the family. “In conserving this acreage, we are securing and promoting an important legacy of open space in our community. At the same time, we are extremely pleased to support three local charities we care deeply about: Natural Lands Trust, the Chestnut Hill Historical Society, and the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields.”
The easement effectively gives the Natural Lands Trust the rights to refuse any use of the property that would be inconsistent with conservation of the space. The intent is to make sure the property remains open space and never becomes a sight for residential development, the Chestnut Hill Local reported.
“The fact that our organization originated in Chestnut Hill with a small group of advocates who wanted to protect open space from development gives this easement extra-special significance for us,” said Molly Morrison, President of the Natural Lands Trust. “We are honored to have earned the confidence of the Woodward family to protect their legacy and excited to join the Philadelphia Cricket Club in preserving this iconic property for generations to come. This is the second largest conservation easement that we now hold in Philadelphia.”
The Philadelphia Cricket Club’s President, Michael J. Vergare, added: “We are very pleased to have been a part of this historic transaction, for both our Chestnut Hill community and for the Cricket Club. We look forward to working with Natural Lands Trust to preserve this open space, which has served as a historic venue for golf for more than a century. We are exceedingly grateful to the Woodward family for their extraordinary generosity in making this possible.”
The St. Martins course, one of three at The Philadelphia Cricket Club, hosted the U.S. Open in 1907 and 1910. It was restored in 2012 to be used by members as a short-course alternative to the club’s two 18-hole courses on its Wissahickon, Pa. campus.
The Philadelphia Cricket Club was featured as C&RB’s cover story in its September 2015 issue: http://clubandresortbusiness.com/2015/09/30/changing-the-game-at-the-philadelphia-cricket-club/