History


The James River Country Club golf course and clubhouse were officially opened during the Fourth of July weekend in 1932.  For the residents of the Peninsula, it combined the facilities of the old Newport News Golf and Country Club -- which was opened in 1924 and occupied the present site of Stuart Gardens in Newport News -- with the Tidewater Club -- a city club which was organized in 1919 and was housed at the foot of Thirty-fourth Street.

The late Lewis McMurran, Sr., a founder of the old golf club, fathered the idea of a modern golf and country club on the banks of the James River to round out the social and athletic life of the community.  Unfortunately, he died before his dream came to fruition, but an enthusiastic group of Peninsula citizens carried out his concept.  It was decided that the farm of C. J. Dietrich, a Newport News restaurant proprietor, where delicious fried chicken dinners were served on Sunday afternoons, would be an ideal site for the club.

The late William E. Blewett, Jr., and John B. Woodward, Jr., are credited with being the founding fathers of the James River Country Club.  With enthusiasm and organizational skills, they sold the concept to the members of the existing clubs and soon had a large group of representative citizens actively participating in the project.

Early in 1931 options were obtained on the 140-acre Dietrich Farm, and a prospectus was sent out detailing plans for converting the property into "a country club in this vicinity which could become the center of social and athletic activities."

Two hundred and thirty-eight people responded by subscribing to Capitol Stock; and the organizational meeting of the stockholders was held May 5, 1931.  The late L. U. "Casey" Noland was elected as the first President.

Construction of the golf course was begun in July 1931 and completed by the end of that year.  In February 1932, the Dietrich residence was removed and construction started on the clubhouse.

The doors and gates were officially opened on Saturday, July 2, 1932. On the Club's 100th Anniversary of, July 2, 2032, a time capsule will be opened containing documents and artifacts from the opening years of James River Country Club.