History of Boonsboro Country Club
The Early Years…
What would eventually become Boonsboro Country Club was a large working farm from 1800 to 1923. Francis Thornton Meriwether’s wife Catharine Elizabeth Davies gave 1,028 acres to him as her dower. In 1793 bricks, hardware, and slate for a roof were ordered from England and arrived on site in 1796. Named after a Scottish castle in Mr. Meriwether’s lineage, “Sholto”, as the home was called, was completed in 1800. On July 26, 1910 William Douglas Meriwether, James Addison Meriwether, Catherine Bernice Meriwether and William Harris Rucker conveyed 300 acres and Sholto to JohnTinsley Rucker and his wife, Katherine Dawson Rucker. The Rucker family lived at the residence and continued to operate the farm until 1923. Sholto was a center-hall plan home with connecting stairs from the ground level to the third floor. The two wings (the Ballroom and Men’s Locker Room) were not part of the original building, as well as, the main entrance as we know it today, was simply a window, with the front door to the house being a little to the right of today’s main entrance, centering it with the house. The ground floor (the present day Grille) was divided into the kitchen, a family dining room, and two storage rooms. Food was prepared on a large, wood-burning cook stove. This area contained a parlor, a company dining room on the left, a master bedroom, and a smaller room that eventually became their first indoor bathroom (the present day Library or Red Room). The steps going to the second floor led to a wide hall that was used as a sitting room and four large bedrooms, which today are The storage rooms, or root cellars, were used to preserve farm produce and ample shelving provided storage for other kitchen supplies. This area had two entrances, one from the back and one from the east side of the house. The first floor was entered from the center of a wooden porch on the front of the house. The front door opened into the first floor foyer and faced the existing staircase used for staff offices.
The third level was a large bedroom, but was removed during the 1929 renovation. Without electricity, running water, or indoor plumbing, oil lamps provided most of the indoor lighting and fireplaces heated the house. Water was brought in from a well in the backyard (present day parking lot and golf shop), but was eventually pumped inside the house, along with the addition of a bathroom off the first floor master bedroom, in the early 1900's. Standing on the present day porch and looking out down BCC Drive, which follows the same path as it did over 200 years ago, it’s not difficult to understand the lay of the property. The lawn in front of the house was a large fenced in area. To the right stretched pastureland for the dairy cows. Crops were grown on both sides of the road from the area near the house to the present day Boonsboro Road. A large garden was planted in the area to the left of the house across the road, while the horse barn and tenant farmer’s home were beyond the garden in the vicinity of the present day #8 fairway.
A Proper Golf Course...
In 1922 Willie Park, the then internationally known British golfer and golf course designer, was brought to Lynchburg to appraise and view the existing golf facilities of an in-town Lynchburg club. His inspection made, Park chose to spend his day looking at all tracts of land surrounding the city of Lynchburg. Upon seeing the farmland on which Sholto was situated, Park concluded that the property was well-suited for a golf course and gave his enthusiastic recommendation for new, larger acreage and the site of Boonsboro Country Club was chosen.
Having great respect for Park’s judgment, the local businessmen secured the old manor house along with a 300-acre tract of land in January of 1923, on which to build a proper golf course. The next year, Willie Park was paid a fee of $1,000.00 for the first layout of the 18 hole course. For $500.00 another expert tried his hand at improvements and over the next three years much thought was given to the layout of the golf course. In 1927 Fred M. Findlay was invited to complete the design and layout, having established himself by designing the James River Course of the Country Club of Virginia, Farmington Country Club, and Blue Hills Golf Club in Roanoke. Findlay supervised the construction over the next two years and though several disastrous rains were encountered, handicapping construction, the course opened on July 1, 1929. That same year the old farmhouse, formally known as Sholto, was extensively remodeled by C.W. Hancock & Sons, Inc., contractor, and Pendleton S. Clark, architect, receiving two wings, to include a ballroom and locker rooms, and the elimination of a third floor. Over time many changes have occurred to Boonsboro Country Club. The addition of a swimming pool in 1964, causing hole #9 to become today’s #1 (today’s #9 was the original first tee), the 1974 construction of the golf shop, the 1987 clubhouse addition of the cocktail lounge and small dining room, and the 1992 tennis facility construction in which the tennis courts were moved from today’s cart staging area, located near the practice green, to their present location. Though not the same two centuries later, Boonsboro continues to be a part of more than 200 years of family memories, as all who have passed throught the gates look at the grand old club as their home, in one way or another.