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The Formation of Illahe Hills Country Club


Before 1960 the Salem area had been served by only the eighteen-hole public Salem Golf Club. Since 1928, Ercel Kay had owned and operated this attractive facility serving the community very well; but the social facilities were very limited. In the early 1950's, there was a serious attempt to develop a private country club in Salem on the McNary property north of Keizer. The Fircone Country Club was incorporated with the State of Oregon, membership fees were put in escrow but the money was eventually refunded when not enough memberships were sold by the deadline of the escrow agreement.

The next organization effort began in 1959 and resulted in the successful formation of Illahe Hills Country Club. The seed of its formation originated through informal luncheon discussions at the Quisenberry Drug Store Restaurant near the Salem General Hospital. These discussants concluded that a private country club could best be formed as a spinoff of a for-profit real estate subdivision, and that a site could be selected only after the development company was financed and organized.

In early March, 1959, attorney Bruce Williams, while visiting Dr. Owen Miller, brought forth the fact he and his neighbor, Merritt Truax, had discussed the same concept. Bruce arranged a meeting for March 26, 1959, for the three to meet with the purpose of agreeing on some principls and getting more people involved. He asked that Owen Miller write up the "drug store" concept as one basis for discussion. The three were enthusiastic and decided to ask a couple of people to meet on April 9, 1959, in an attempt to form a "steering committee."

The following people were present at the April 9th meeting: Glen Stevenson, Bruce Williams, Merritt Truax, Werner Brown, Al Loucks, E.E. Batterman, Dr. Vern Miller, Reynolds Allen, James Payne, Vern McMullen, Carl Gerlinger and Dr. Owen Miller. The majority agreed that the Club spin-off from a subdivision development was proper and if the development company had about $300,000 the project could be accomplished. The general feeling was to incorporate on the basis of a stock issue of 100 shares at $3,000 each. Those present were to ask persons they thought were interested in a $3,000 share to write to Bruce Williams. All would meet on April 17, 1959 at the Marion Hotel.

At the April 17th meeting, conducted by Dr. Owen Miller, there were twenty-seven persons present who had signed indicating their interest. There were an additional nineteen names presented who were not in attendance but had indicated their interest. A print out of the general plan was presented as a promotional sheet. A decision was made to hold an organization meeting on May 1, 1959, at which the forty-five persons on the list and any others signing in the meantime, would be present to discuss more details with the Steering Committee.

Because the Steering Committee was not yet organized to the point of developing organizational plans for such a general meeting, Merritt Truax, Owen Miller and Bruce Williams met at the home of Bruce Williams on April 22, 1959, to finalize the selection of the steering committee and select a time for their first official meeting. The May 1st meeting of prospective stockholders was postponed. The Steering Committee was selected by Mr. Truax, Dr. Owen Miller, and Mr. Williams and consisted of: Vern McMullen, Cliff Ellis, Dick Taggesell, James Payne, Reynolds Allen, Erwin Batterman, Carl Gerlinger, Dr. Vern Miller, Bruce Williams, Merritt Truax and Dr. Owen Miller. Dick Taggesell and Cliff Ellis chose not to be members of the Steering Committee.

The first meeting of the newly constituted Steering Committee met at Bruce Williams' home on May 4, 1959. A great many decisions were made and the organization was launched. At the May 11th meeting, Bruce Williams presented copies of the proposed articles of incorporation and by-laws.

Temporary officers were selected as follows:
President - Dr. Owen Miller
Vice Pres.- Carl Gerlinger
Secretary - Reynolds Allen
Treasurer - Merritt Truax