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The Saginaw County Club:  The Original Clubhouse

“Plans for the proposed club house were presented to the meeting, and the gentlemen in attendance spent some time in looking them over. They show a fine colonial building of ample dimensions and equipped with all the conveniences of a modern country club. As has been stated before, the club proposes to locate upon about sixty acres of ground on the farms of Charles H. Davis and E.G. Rust on the Gratiot road, a short distance from the city, where excellent golf links are already constructed. The spot is a picturesque one and there is every reason to believe that it will permit of the growth of a country club that will be a credit to its members.

-The Saginaw Evening News, September 24, 1901.

 


Organized in 1898, it would take time before the Saginaw County Club was fully settled into its Gratiot Road home. The day after the original clubhouse opened on June 10, 1902, The Saginaw Evening News reported, “and the wind seemed to come from the coldest part of the compass. And yet the occasion was a joyously festive one, thoroughly enjoyed by all, and made memorable by the openhearted hospitality of the club.”  After detailing the size of the crowd attending the event, naming the board of directors and progress made in developing the golf course, the article provided a description of the clubhouse:

 

“there has been erected upon this property an ideal country club house, after plans by H.W. Jackson,* the architect. It is a one-story frame building, on brick foundation, low set, with a magnificent stretch of broad piazza, facing the golf links and tennis courts, and giving a fine view of the track in the distance. It is handsomely furnished and equipped throughout to combine every comfort and convenience and quiet elegance. There is a large assembly room, with open fire place; ladies’ parlor; lockers and toilet rooms; a private dining room and butler’s pantry. Provision is also made for ample stable accommodation near the club, and a house for the steward, to be completed by July 1, is being built. This convenience will be specially appreciated by winter driving parties, as will also the fact that John Ardussi, the well known caterer of Frankenmuth,** has been engaged as steward. In conjunction with the club house there is a workshop for repairs, and in the court a windmill***to pump water from the artesian well.” (The Saginaw Evening News, June 11, 1902. P. 4.)

 


The writer continues with a room-by-room description of the interior and its furnishings and bestows praise upon the food preparation area:

 

“Of prime importance is the kitchen. It is a model, and equipped with everything necessary. There are steel ranges of large pattern, with broiling attachments; smaller gasoline ranges for quick orders, and all appurtenances to be found in a first class establishment of its kind. J.A. Ardussi, the chef and steward, is proud of his kingdom and exhibits with a great deal of satisfaction his colonial cut glass and other equipment. John has a splendid eye for what is right and his stock of wines, mineral waters, etc., is the best. And those who have visited him in Frankenmuth will bear witness to his skill in the science of mixicologism. When the News man called on John he was especially busy with a magnificent salmon sent to the club by W.B. Mershon and T.A. Harvey from the Cascapedia river, and which was being prepared for the luncheon that was a feature of the afternoon’s entertainment.”  (The Saginaw Evening News, June 11, 1902. P. 4.)

 


We could continue – and will in future recipe posts; however, we understand that you will require time to prepare this week’s recipe.

 


*Harker W. Jackson, artist and architect, is perhaps best known for a mural in Saginaw’s water treatment plant and the design of his own home at 1631 Brockway Street – his transformation of the 1864 Abel Brockway.

 

**This link will take you to the story of John Ardussi and another recipe.

 

***The windmill was produced in Saginaw by the Wolcott Windmill Company

 

The Recipe: Stuffed Baked Potatoes Gourmet, A Recipe from the Saginaw County Club

 

This week’s recipe was included in Masterpieces from the Saginaw Art Museum, a cookbook published by the Saginaw Art Museum in 1972. Contributed by Charlie Muscat, then chef at the Saginaw County Club, it was published three years after the dedication of the new clubhouse. While we cannot assure readers that it was served in the 1902 clubhouse, it certainly would have been a perfect accompaniment to a meal in either of the clubs’ two facilities.

 


¼ lb. butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

¼ 1b. ham

1 c. sour cream

2 T. dry chives

2 T. Parmesan cheese

3 baked potatoes

1 t. salt

Dash of pepper

  

Heat butter until melted; add onions, ham, salt and pepper. Saute slowly until onion is done.

Cut baked potatoes in half, and hollow the halves into a bowl. Add ham and onion mixture, sour cream, chives and Parmesan cheese. Mix thoroughly. Stuff potato shells with mixture. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and melted butter on top, and bake in pre-heated oven at 400 degrees until golden brown.

Serves 6

Chef Charlie Muscat

Saginaw Country Club


 

 

 

Note:


The CTK staff prides itself on striving for accuracy and maintaining the spirit of the original recipe – we boiled chicken for nearly six hours, after all. However, we looked at the pallid jar of dried chives in the grocery store and thought of the luxurious bed at the foot of the stairs leading to the CTK kitchen porch. We could not bring ourselves to embrace such accuracy. We harvested fresh chives.

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