April 2nd, 1821, the city of Indianapolis was started. Exactly 82 years later, Highland Golf and Country Club came into being and both have been having growing pains since that time.
On November 3, 1903, during the regime of Indianapolis Mayor, John W. Holtzman, the Board of Commissioners granted permission to the Highland Golf and Country Club “to use a portion of Riverside Park for golf purposes.” Less than a month later, on November 30th, to be exact, a group headed up by charter members of Highland filed Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State, giving official birth to Highland Golf Club. These Articles were signed by William W. Carter, I.N. Cleaver, William Donaldson, Arthur F. Hall, James E. Kepperley, Edward L. Lennox, E.D. Moore, Samuel E. Rauh, William R. Root and H.F. Waterman.
Within a very few days (December 4th, 1903) the formal agreement was executed by and between the Board of Park Commissioners and Highland’s first President, William R. Root.
A 9-hole course was established on the “up land” of what is now known as Coffin Golf Course. A shed near the farmhouse of the Mayers family served as the Clubhouse, (where the Iron Skillet Restaurant is now). Empty cans were inserted in the ground at each green and the farmers in the area were all commissioned to keep the land manicured when they were not busy with their own farm chores.
In 1908 Highland was allotted additional ground, expanding the course to 18 holes, joining Indianapolis Country and Riverside clubs making the only 18-hole courses in the city at that time.
Ten years later (1919) the Indianapolis Park Board asked for repossession of the course in order to provide more recreation facilities for the city’s fast growing population. In March that year the Eastman estate deeded 144.56 acres of land, on which the Club’s present golf course is located, to the Highland Golf and Realty Company.
The Highland Golf and Country Club was then organized in September 1919, capital stock for this transaction was obtained from sale of two thousand four-hundred shares of preferred stock at one-hundred (100.00) per share. Four hundred memberships were established, each membership calling for the purchase of a block of five shares (500.00) per block. The improvements and construction of the Club got underway at this time after the Highland Realty Company leased the property to the Club.
This lease agreement continued until 1940 when the Realty Company sold complete possession to the Club. During this period Club activities were headed up by Dr. J. William Wright, Club President, 1941 through 1945.
Your Club survived two World Wars, a depression and became known as the “Golfinest Club hereabouts” which is an outstanding record for all those gentlemen responsible for the success of Highland Golf and Country Club. We deeply regret space is not available for recognition to all those important members.