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Mon, 04.05.1948

Clearview Golf Club (Ohio) Opens

Clearview Golf Club

*On this date in 1948, we celebrate Clearview Golf Club. The Clearview Golf Club was the first golf course in the United States to be built, owned, and operated by a black person.

The club was started in 1946, with Bill Powell purchasing the land and working on it in his spare time. The club is two miles outside of East Canton, Ohio. It covers around 130 acres of land. The club is named "Clearview" because Powell, the designer, and first owner, wanted a place that "would represent his 'clear view' of what the game should be about: access for all." As an African American, Powell had faced prejudice when attempting to join other golf clubs in the United States, so he chose to build his own.

First, Powell (a veteran) tried to get a G.I. loan but was turned down. Powell obtained financial support for his effort to build the golf club from two black physicians and his brother, who took out a second mortgage. With this support, he was able to purchase a 78-acre dairy farm. Powell moved his family to a house on the golf course.

At the time, he worked as a security guard, converting the farm into a golf course in his spare time. He worked on the course during the day, growing grass and clearing the land by hand, while at night, he completed the first nine holes by 1948. The club opened in April of that same year, with Powell's wife, Marcella, helping. Once the club was open, it welcomed everyone, regardless of race. His daughter, Renee Powell, began playing golf on the course shortly after it first opened at the age of 3.

The club did experience some problems with vandalism and community hostility, but these did not impair the club's success. A member of the Ku Klux Klan golfed his course, but Powell only told his daughter, Renee, about the incident. Racists called the club the "nigger nine." Powell expanded the club to eighteen holes in 1978. In 1995, Renee took over as head golf professional at Clearview. Renovations sponsored by the PGA of America took place in 1999. In 2001, the course entered the National Register of Historic Places. Also, in 2001, the course began to operate as a non-profit under Clearview Legacy Foundation. The foundation, the club, and the Ohio Historical Society erected a historical marker on the site in 2001.

The club was renovated for free in 2004 by Hurdzan-Fry Golf Course Design to fix the primary drainage system at the course. The drainage system was connected to two ponds on the course. In 2007, civil engineering students from the University of Akron provided drawings and designs to help renovate the golf course. The illustrations helped the fundraising drive to raise $1.6 million for capital improvements. In 2009, the club faced problems when Buckeye Industrial Mining was allowed to mine coal 370 feet from the club. His children, Larry Powell and Renee Powell, currently manage the club. It is one of 13 black-owned or operated golf courses in the U.S.

New Poem Each Day

Poetry Corner

Ah ha, hush that fuss Everybody move to the back of the bus Do you wanna bump and slump with us We the type of people make the club get crunk Many a... ROSA PARKS by Outkast
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