Tony Ferro holds the The National Register Of Historic Places plaque that the Johnson City Country Club received. The club was awarded the designation for both the golf course and the club house. (Lee Talbert/Johnson City Press)
Thought up by a group of local businessmen in 1909 and established formally as an organization in 1913, the Johnson City Country Club will reach a significant birthday this week and will be celebrating the big milestone in a three-day celebration.
Tony Ferro, co-chairman of the centennial committee and 2008 JCCC president, said the committee, fused with many members of the historical committee, decided to mark the club’s 100th-year anniversary with a monthlong series of events.
“What we did was we sat down to try to develop a series of events that would have some throwbacks incorporated,” Ferro said. “We started the whole thing with the centennial kickoff here on Feb. 2. We had over 120 people here. We had a Roaring 20s party in the middle of a snowstorm, which was unfortunate, but we still had a pretty good crowd. They had great food and everybody dressed up.”
Ferro said the centennial committee also hosted an Auction of a Century fundraiser for the club and its charities. The club was able to raise $12,000.
“We wanted to share this with the community and we thought that was the best way of doing it,” he said. “Not only inviting people to come, but also that we would literally give something back in terms of some of the funding that we were able to create.”
This week, club members and the public are invited to participate in three days of activities, including a Time Capsule Dedication Party on Thursday from 7-9 p.m. on The Terrace. The dedication party will represent exactly 100 years since the club’s formation.
“We want to ... leave something behind and one of the things we’ve tried to do is to put our stamp on the club,” Ferro said. “We’ve developed a new centennial flag. We’ve changed the golf scorecard. We’ve changed the signage all the way around the club. We wanted something that ... would last forever.”
The time capsule, which will be buried somewhere on the country club grounds, will contain a series of items, including the centennial flag, a copy of a newspaper with the date, letters from current board members and letters written by parents and grandparents to their children and grandchildren.
Instead of waiting 100 years or 50 years, the committee decided 25 years would be long enough to ensure that the time capsule’s contents would be memorable for the younger club members, Ferro said.
He said hors d’oeuvres and wine will be available during the dedication party and dress for the event is casual.
On Friday, a Centennial Luau is scheduled from 5-11 p.m. around the pool, which will be available for swimming. Ferro said members will be given a free Centennial punch drink and hors d’oeuvres will also be available.
The luau will also include music by DJ Michael Hawkins and the dress is casual.
Tickets for the Centennial Luau are $19.13 for members and $30 for guests. The luau is also open to the public.
“Then we go into the biggest event of all and that’s the Centennial Ball,” Ferro said. “We’ve got some really neat stuff planned.”
He said members and the public attending the event will be escorted to the front door of the club by trolley and then escorted inside to register.
Attendees will then be taken to the original 19th Hole, which is located where the current President’s Room is today.
Ferro said the room will be transformed to include a bar, a mural with country club photos and slot machines.
Back in the older days of the club, he said slot machines used to be fixtures in the men’s and women’s locker rooms.
The ball will also a Hall of History, which will feature club memorabilia over the last 100 years.
Members and the public will have a sit-down dinner, listen to presentations and have a chance to win prizes throughout the night.
Tickets for the Centennial Ball are $25 for members and $40 for guests.
Cocktails will be served from 6-7 p.m., dinner from 7-8:30 and dancing and entertainment by The Troupers from 8:30-midnight in the Charlie Oliver Honorary Ball Room.
“The excitement has grown,” Ferro said. “It’s getting down to the 11th hour. Everyone’s talking about it. A lot of older members have contacted members who have moved away, so we’ve got people coming from Arizona, and from Florida, Georgia, and all these places. Some of these people haven’t been here in 20-30 years, but they grew up here. They were kids here.”
He said celebrating the country club’s 100th year is historic and said he’s excited to celebrate it.
“You don’t last 100 years by accident,” Ferro said. “Somebody’s had to care ... and had to care a lot. We’ve had a history of people caring.”
For more information about the Johnson City Country Club Centennial Celebration or to inquire about or reserve a ticket for any of the three events, call 975-5520 or visit the club at 1901 E. Unaka Ave.