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Trail Blazers: The Birchbank Club House back in the day

Trail Blazers is a weekly historical feature in partnership with the Trail Museum and Archives
The Birchbank Club House, circa 1965. Photo: Trail Historical Society

With Birchbank Golf Club now open and under new ownership, it’s a good time to look back at the history of this treasured venue for this week’s Trail Blazers feature.

Sarah Benson-Lord, from the Trail Museum and Archives, provides insight as to where it all began.

The Birchbank land was first owned by renowned Trail surveyor, J.D. Anderson, whose ranch and orchards occupied the landscape between 1910 and the 1930s.

The property eventually went to Cominco and was leased by the Rossland-Trail Country Club until roughly 20 years ago.

The Birchbank course itself was first developed in 1963.

Two years later on Friday, April 9, 1965, members of the Rossland-Trail Country Club celebrated the grand opening of their new clubhouse at Birchbank.

This contemporary structure was designed by Trail architect Allan McCulloch. For the big day, management made sure the pro shop was well stocked for all to admire.

Welcoming 300 members to the event, club president J.B. Biker and ladies president Mrs. J.M. Cameron congratulated the many locals who worked tirelessly to see the “ultra-modern” clubhouse come to fruition, with special mention to Reg Stone, chair of the building committee.

Mrs. J.M. Cameron, ladies golf club president, and J.B. Biker welcome their members to their new home. Photos: Trail Historical Society
Mrs. J.M. Cameron, ladies golf club president, and J.B. Biker welcome their members to their new home. Photos: Trail Historical Society

At the time of the event, dining room furnishings and lockers were not yet in place.

Despite those omissions, Mrs. Cameron stated, “There is an air of excitement here tonight as members gather for the first time. All members feel a personal pride in its completion.”

The famous Stone brothers, Reg and Roy, while known for their curling feats, were also active members of club.

After 10 years as greens-keeper and pro at the course, Reg left his post in 1949 to take on the role of arena manager and eventually superintendent of the Trail-Tadanac Parks Board.

Despite his busy job, Reg found time to design the Birchbank course, while Roy became the resident golf pro.

Reg’s contribution to golf in the community was recognized on April 30, 1969, when the second nine-hole section of the course was officially opened.

The evening, dubbed “Reg Stone Appreciation Night,” was a tribute to his 30 years of dedication to the golf community and the Rossland-Trail Country Club.

In April 2022, the Rossland-Trail Country Club will celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Benson-Lord encourages anyone with organizational records or photos to contact either the Trail or Rossland museum.

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Sheri Regnier

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