I really enjoy how tidbits of history can take me places, either in my mind or in reality. On October 20, I visited Shawnee Hills Golf Course in Bedford Reservation to check on a few interpretive signs. This beautiful fall day came on the heels of a snowy weekend. With the fall color still abundant, I decided to bypass the offer of a golf cart and walk to Tee #12 and Tee #16 to find the signs.
Respectfully averting any golfers that were enjoying a few last rounds, I ventured between holes #10 and #11 and came across the tombstone of Hannah Jane Egbert (See Foster Brown's Blog: "Little Hannah Jane Egbert" http://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/Main/Roots-Revealed-Blog/35.aspx#.Vi-bMdKrTiw). Interesting find on a golf course. It got me to wondering about the Egbert family that lived on this land in the 1800s. What was life like back then without major roads nearby? Quite the change from the fairways of today that see little white balls soaring overhead. As I walked away, I realized that without knowing a bit of the history, this weathered tombstone was sadly nothing more than a rock beneath a tree.
Later, one of the interpretive signs I found mentioned the area was “crushed” by glaciers many, many moons ago. So here I was once again traveling through time, way back in time, on the same piece of land…all in a matter of an hour. Without this useful info, all I was doing was taking a fall walk while dodging golf balls.
As I continued along, it was quite the enjoyable afternoon combining nature’s autumnal artwork, history and reminiscing, reminiscing about some of my research findings like how Golf Course #2 (as it was originally called) was actually the first golf course opened. GC #2, known as Little Met today, was actually built to take some of the pressure off during the construction of the larger Golf Course #1 (Big Met). It’s fun to tell people that GC #2 was actually first and GC #1 was in reality second, then watch as the wheels turn trying to figure out what they just heard. (See Judy MacKeigan's Blog: "Mighty Mashies" http://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/Main/Roots-Revealed-Blog/108.aspx#.Vi-aWtKrTiw)
There’s also Manakiki Golf Course in North Chagrin which was a private course for many years before going public. I recently learned that its name comes from the Chippewa meaning “Maple Forest” - quite befitting for that area. And, then there were the issues behind Sleepy Hollow, as well as Manakiki being private clubs for 25+ years before going public. And I can personally recall having meetings back in the late 1980s in the basement of the then Spanish-motiffed Sleepy Hollow Clubhouse. Today’s clubhouse bears no resemblance of that time gone-by.
Manakiki Clubhouse 1952
Sleepy Hollow Clubhouse c.1970
I may have travelled a few miles that day by foot on the golf course, yet my travels took me many years into the past simply because of a few tidbits of history. My experience on the course that day was different than most, all thanks to those who have kept the past alive. It made for a deeper appreciation of all that is Cleveland Metroparks.
Sleepy Hollow Golf Course 1959