Mailbag: Clearcrest Golf Club

Article about the opening of the Vanderbug Auto Club (Evansville Courier 4/14/1915)
Article about the opening of the Vanderbug Auto Club (Evansville Courier 4/14/1915)

The farmhouse at 10521 Darmstadt Road was part of the Charles Volkman farmstead.  Built in the late 1800s, it encompassed about 80 acres and was situated about 8 miles from downtown Evansville.  The newly formed Vanderbugh Auto club purchased the property in 1915 and remodeled the 2-story farmhouse .  Driver could cruise “through bracing country air” and stop at the auto club for a bite.  Other amenities such as a stocked lake, playground, and tennis courts attracted other people to the club.

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The farmhouse that became an auto club and later Clearcrest Club. Photo c1930

The Vanderburgh Auto Club was short-lived though, because by 1920 the facility operated as the Clear Crest Inn.  It was more of a roadhouse serving food and providing evening entertainment.

Ad for Clear Crest Inn 1920
Ad for Clear Crest Inn 1920

The Evansville Club, a Jewish social club located in what is now the No-Ruz Grotto, was looking for property in the country as a respite from their downtown site.  In 1921, they bought the old auto club, remodeled the clubhouse, and put in a golf course.  The club officially opened as the Clearcrest Country Club in summer 1922.

There was a giant fire June 22, 1939, and eight people barely made it out with their lives.  The buildings were a total loss, but the club rebuilt within a year.  A new clubhouse, designed by Edwin Berendes, is the same one still standing today.

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What remained of Clearcrest after the June 1939 fire
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A map of Clearcrest showing the new clubhouse and the changes to the golf course

The golf course was sold to a private owner around 1990 and was opened to the public. It continued operating for a number of years until it finally closed late Winter 2014. It was sold at auction the next year and is currently slated to become a subdivision.

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The clubhouse 2015 when the property was up for auction

Mike Linderman’s Presentation on January 28th

Upcoming Program:
Angel Mounds’ Mike Linderman will make the following presentation in Willard Library’s Browning Gallery on January 28th at 6:30 PM. Enter at the South entrance.

Francis Martin was a pioneering woman in the field of archaeology, having worked with some of the greats like Dr. Glenn Black at Angel Mounds and doing much independent work in the field in our area. Along with her husband George, Francis traveled around the tri-state region documenting and preserving information on numerous archaeological sites.
This presentation will highlight her career through her own slides, which cover a period of over 50 years. The slides were donated to Angel Mounds State Historic Site after her death in 1999 by her niece. Now digitized, they can be shown again to the public for the first time in over 25 years. Along with showing the slides, the goal is to meet people who knew Francis and help us complete the story of her life, which is somewhat lacking on the personal level.