This is the second in a series of posts by The Scrambler (Kevin Lynch) who appears to have lost the will or ability to post under his own name. Putting that trivial element aside, the Scrambler is nothing if not a top-shelf bloodhound. His sleuthing first appeared this spring (http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,55850.0.html on golf club atlas. The next installment will appear here on Tuesday, July 2nd.
WILLIAM HARRIES’ ROLE
It’s difficult to have any discussion of golf in Western New York without notice of William Edward Harries (1886-1972), as he has been associated with many projects. I have been fascinated with Harries’ contributions to WNY Golf for years, as he was involved with the design of my home course (Elma Meadows) as well as my favorite WNY course (Byrncliff Resort).
Harries has an interesting history both on & off the course. A Buffalo native, he traveled to England after graduating from Cornell in 1908. After returning from England in 1910, he worked municipally for several years as the Superintendant of the NYS Reservation at Niagara Falls (1910-1912) and again as the Buffalo Superintendant of Parks from 1919-1922.
Harries seemed to have two separate phases of his golf design / construction career. Prior to the 1930’s, he seemed to work on his own through the landscape firm of Harries, Hall & Kruse (firm with offices in Toronto and Buffalo). In the 1920s / early 30s, he was credited with designing Brookfield and Oneonta Country Club, as well as Sheridan Park Golf Course (host of 1962 Publinx).
Here is a biography of Harries from the Oneonta website:
Here is also a link to an article about the Harries, Hall & Kruse firm:
What I found most interesting was Harries’ involvement with some of golf architecture’s bigger names in a construction role. Harries is credited with constructing Cherry Hill Country Club in 1923-24 (Travis design just over the US/Canada border), and apparently with building Willowdale for Park, Jr. ( according to Joe’s 1921 article).
In an old GCA thread, Ed Homsey (Travis Society President) mentioned a letter written by AW Tillinghast in August 1936 after a visit to Park Club’s Williamsville (Alison) and Orchard Park (Travis) courses. Tillinghast wrote about a gathering of professionals, greenskeepers and committee members and stated “One of those who asked me the most questions was Mr. Harries, who has built many courses in the district. Courses planned by Travis, Alison, and Donald Ross. He came to me afterwards and expressed his satisfaction and pleasure.”
The reference to Alison leads me to believe he may have also had a hand in the building of Park CC and the “Ross” reference may have been in relation to Country Club of Buffalo. Incidentally, Harries designed the back 9 holes at Thendara Country Club, with the original 9 holes designed by Donald Ross (perhaps there was a connection there).
After World War II, Harries entered the “second phase” of his design career. Harries was associated with the firm of (Russell) Tryon and Schwartz & Associates (landscape firm out of East Aurora, NY). Most of the post WWII municipal courses built in Western New York are credited to Harries & Tryon (with Harries generally regarded as the “lead” architect).
Given Harries ubiquitous presence in WNY, I had no doubt that Harries had designed Westwood, as indicated by Cornish & Whitten (and also via a 1965 article in the Buffalo Evening news). Furthermore, most search engines listed 1945 as the construction date for Westwood, which would align with Harries’ other design dates in the area (Audubon was built in 1942).
Joe’s question started me looking deeper into the history of Westwood, with the Willowdale name as a new tool for research. I wasn’t sure if Willowdale existed on the same site, or may have been a NLE course in the same area (similar to the mystery disappearance of the possible Raynor holes in the Brookfield / Glenn Acres property). My next post will get into the history of the Club itself.