HistoryThe Foundation of Hospitality, Fellowship & Charm
Over one hundred and twenty years ago, a group of industrial leaders founded the Manufacturers' Club of Philadelphia. The membership was made up largely of textile manufacturing executives from the area, hence the club's unique name. The original Clubhouse was a magnificent structure erected at Broad and Walnut Streets in the heart of Center City. As a reminder of this time, Manufacturers' original charter, signed May 19, 1887, is displayed in today's Clubhouse located in Fort Washington.
Desiring a country club and golf course, the membership would relocate to a beautiful location in the nearby suburbs. The Board of Directors led by then President John Fisler appointed a committee on February 12, 1923 to secure an option to purchase Ridgewood Farm, located in Upper Dublin Township.
Few areas in this country have a deeper historical heritage than the Club site and surrounding territory. It is in this exact area that in November of 1777, George Washington established the Whitemarsh Encampment. The Continental Army spent six weeks here protecting supply cities to the west as well as monitoring the British, who were occupying Philadelphia.
In early December, the British attempted a surprise attack on the colonists’ position but Washington’s spies, tipping off the General, thwarted that plan. The Americans were well prepared, if under equipped, for the next three days of fighting. With no clear victor, the British returned to Philadelphia and the Americans moved off what are now the Club’s grounds, toward Valley Forge for the winter.
Today, overlooking Sandy Run Creek, which feeds the lake in the valley below the clubhouse stands what was once the imposing home of sugar magnate William Frazier Harrison. The 250-acre estate was purchased on August 3, 1923 for $175,000.
Built of limestone quarried on the property, the manor house is strikingly set far up a grand hillside, seeming to be a part of the elevation itself as it rises harmoniously from the ancient hardwoods that crown this illustrious home. Extensive sleeping quarters on the third and fourth floors would prove invaluable when, in the Thirties and Forties, the club accommodated the football teams from West Point, Annapolis, and Notre Dame, whose schedules frequently brought them to Philadelphia to play at Franklin Field or Municipal Stadium.
The architect, Frank Seeburger prepared plans for the construction of a locker room as well as other additions to the original manor house and grounds. The preeminent Pennsylvania golf course design firm of Toomey and Flynn signed a contract and began work on the classic 18-hole golf course.
Manufacturers' officially opened on May 15, 1925 with a match that pitted Walter Hagen and Joe Kirkwood against Huntingdon Valley's "Ducky" Corkran and Merion's Max Marston, whose extraordinary year in golf, 1923, remains unparalleled.
On May 5th, 1933, the Club was reorganized and formed a corporation adopting its present name – The Manufacturers’ Golf and Country Club. The first pool was dedicated in 1939, but more recently, an extraordinary pool and deck area have been created, to provide an incredible view of the entire course. Four new tennis courts and two paddle courts have been added in the shady gardens of the Harrison family’s original home court site.