Birchwood Golf Club

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Birchwood Country Club Soundex Code B623

1217 W. Chase Avenue near Lake Michigan

A group of residents opened the Birchwood Country Club on Wednesday, July 4, 1906, with membership in the Club limited to 100 individuals who were supposed to live in the Birchwood Beach area. A golf course was opened north of Howard Avenue for a number of years.

The club offered its members a wide variety of recreational activities, but served as a social club as well. Outdoor amenities consisted of a nine-hole putting green, bathing beach, canoeing, and croquet. Indoor activities included dancing, cards, billiards, and a three-lane bowling alley in the basement.

Social events at the club included Monday Men's Nights, when men would gather to play games, socialize, and smoke cigars. Ladies Wednesday Afternoons saw women holding card parties, concerts, and luncheons. Automobile Runs to popular vacations spots were held; sometimes lasting two or three days. There were special parties for seasonal events, including Harvest Home, Halloween parties, New Year's Eve parties, Snow parties, St. Patrick's Day celebrations, and young folks dance parties--for sons and daughters of members with chaperones always in attendance. At one time, George Ade and John McCutcheon wrote a sketch called "Birch Center," and Maude Wright of Hinsdale came and dramatized it and different members of the club took the parts.

The first auto run sponsored by the Club was on Saturday, Sunday, August 7-8, 1915, and was to Starved Rock, Illinois.

In the late 1920s, a series of questionable zoning decisions led to the eventual closing of the Club. A real estate developer was inexplicably allowed to purchase lakefront water rights, fill in the space, and build a large apartment building, cutting off the club's access to the beachfront. After this, members sitting on the club's lake-facing porch could only see common brick and back stairways.

The Birchwood Country Club was disbanded during the Depression. The abandoned building was purchased and renovated by the North Shore School in 1943.

That Other Golf Club

By LeRoy Blommaert

Most people of a certain age remember Rogers Park/West Ridge’s golf club at Western and Pratt (now known as Warren Park) ironically named the Edgewater Golf Club even though it was located within Edgewater only for the first few years of its life. But the community had another golf club and no one living today remembers it and few know it ever existed. It was the Birchwood Golf Club and it was wholly within Rogers Park and never moved. Unlike the Edgewater Golf Club it had a short life, from approximately 1906 until perhaps 1912.

A recently acquired photo postcard brought it to the author’s attention and caused him to attempt to learn more. The club house looks more like a railroad depot than a typical club house of the period, and sure enough it was; originally. A Friday, May 29, 1959, Chicago Tribune article which recounts the recollections of Graham Jackson confirms that the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway donated it to the club after it ceased passenger service into Rogers Park in 1908 when the “L” came.

According to Mr. Jackson’s recollections that were the basis of the article, the club was a 9-hole course and was located north of Rogers and south of Calvary Cemetery near Sheridan Road. Mr. Jackson who along with his father, Walter L. Jackson, won the Pater-Filius alternative shot event in 1910 at the club, recounted that Sheridan Road ran between the first and second holes and wasn’t much of a road back then. According to the young Mr. Jackson, “The first hole started at about where is now Rogers and Sheridan and went north. The third tee must have been about where the gas station is now (since replaced by town houses), and the fairway ran west, following the curve of the cemetery to form a dogleg. It was known as the Devil’s Elbow.”

According to Jackson, the members had a opportunity to buy the land from the owner from whom it was leased but declined because they thought the price was too high--$600 an acre.

Nationally known golfer Chick Evans, who was affiliated with the Edgewater Golf Club, confirmed Mr. Jackson’s recollections and added that the Edgewater Club considered purchasing it in 1910 but purchased the land at Pratt and Western instead. He remembered that it contained a lot of white birch trees—not surprising given its name and the name of the subdivision to the south: Birchwood Beach.



Walter Howard Chamberlin, 1911.

William Arthur Grant, 1908-9.


William T. Irwin, 1911.

Source: Rogers Park Directory, 1919, page 9.

Birchwood Country Club, 1217 Chase Avenue, 1919


Charles Peters Abbey, 1917, 1919.

Benton Holcomb Babbitt, 1911, 1917.

Elmer Ellsworth Beach, 1911.

Raymond Walter Beach

Frederick Jacob Becker, 1917, 1919.

Walter Howard Chamberlin, 1911.

Arthur Henry Chetlain, 1911.

George Walker Conover, 1911.

George William De Smet, 1911.

William Marshall Ellis

Emory Duffield Fraker, 1911.

William Arthur Grant, 1911, 1917.

Albert P. Hawley, 1905, 1917.

Harry Boyd Hurd, 1911.

William T. Irwin, 1911.

Harvey Eugene Keeler

J. Fred McGuire, 1911.

Charles Benjamin Obermeyer, 1911.

Charles Edward Schick, 1911, 1917.

Clarence Albert Shamel, 1911.

Charles Frederick Tritschler, 1911.


RPWRHS photo D012-0103 shows Birchwood Country Club, 1217 W. Chase Avenue - building looking east, circa 1915.

RPWRHS photo D012-0107 shows a beautiful sunrise over Lake Michigan as seen from the porch of the Birchwood Country Club around 1915. Notice the Stickley Arts & Crafts-style furniture and railing that were in vogue during this period. Since the club did not own the water rights, landfill was put in and a large three-story apartment building was erected to the east, blocking The Club's lake access and view. in 1915.

RPWRHS photo D012-0302 shows Birchwood Country Club automobile outing on Saturday, August 7, 1915.

RPWRHS photo D012-0303 shows Birchwood Country Club members at Starved Rock in the Pace car during the Saturday, August 7, 1915, automobile outing.

RPWRHS photo D012-0304 shows Warren Roberts standing with one leg on a car's running board during the Birchwood Country Club's automobile outing to Starved Rock on Saturday, August 7, 1915.

RPWRHS photo D012-PC728 shows Birchwood Country Club, 1217 W. Chase Avenue - building looking east, circa 1906.

RPWRHS photo G001-PC385 shows Coast Guard Station and Birchwood Country Club, circa 1900. Now Leone Beach Park field house. No date given.

RPWRHS photo R044-0228 shows Birchwood Country Club, 1217 W. Chase Avenue. No date given.